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“I’m not a politician. I’m a warrior for God” : Herschel Walker highlights commitments to values, voters during visit to Dawson County
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Gainesville native Tony Roberts, center, gratefully hugs Republican U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker at the end of an Oct. 25 campaign rally in Dawsonville. - photo by Julia Hansen

With control of the U.S. Senate hanging in the balance, dozens of people like Gainesville native Tony Roberts felt it was important enough to attend Republican candidate Herschel Walker’s speech at the Amicalola Regional Farmers Market in Dawsonville Tuesday. 

This story continues below.

“I’ve got stage 4 lung and brain cancer,” Roberts said. “This is my last election.” 

For him, his vote in the 2022 general election “really does” count, Roberts added. 

Walker is facing off against Democratic incumbent Rev. Raphael Warnock for one of Georgia’s two Senate seats. Democratic senator Jon Ossoff holds the other seat, which will not be up for election again until 2026. 

The previous election cycle yielded two Democratic senators from Georgia, further cementing the state’s purple status after state voters had decided the presidential race in favor of President Joe Biden. 

Walker and Warnock’s senatorial race is one of multiple high-profile campaigns in the state now, with elections also taking place for the governor’s seat and Georgia’s 6th Congressional District seat for the U.S. House of Representatives. 

Voter participation in rural areas has been galvanized going into the fall elections, with Dawson County voters already showing up by over 800 more as compared to the first week of early voting in 2018. 

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Republican State Rep. Will Wade hypes the crowd up before Walker takes the stage during Tuesday’s senatorial campaign event. - photo by Julia Hansen

Retired U.S. Army Col. Michael Steele, also a former UGA teammate of Walker’s, mentioned his friend’s authenticity, overall fortitude, kindness and compassion.

“In life, you're going to meet people that have more resources…but the one thing that you can control is that nobody can ever outwork you,” Steele added, pointing to Walker’s work ethics.

“He’ll focus on the issues and problems of Georgia and focus on those without distraction.” 

State House Rep. Will Wade similarly commented that Walker would be all about prioritizing “faith, family and this state.”

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Herschel Walker begins his speech after admiring the crowd’s warm reception at the Dawsonville campaign rally stop. - photo by Julia Hansen

Walker mentioned the multiple life experiences that have molded him into an apt candidate, such as his struggle with a speech impediment, time playing football for the University of Georgia and multiple professional teams, winning the Heisman Trophy and overcoming mental health challenges. 

“The guy I'm running against is trying to tell you that we’re such a racist people, that we’re so divided, that we can do it, but I'm here to tell you don't believe it,” Walker said. “Because in my Bible I read, it reads ‘A house divided cannot stand.’”

Walker also chided Warnock for focusing on skin color instead of the content of one’s character, as another Ebenezer Baptist Church pastor, Martin Luther King Jr., said. 

“In two years, he’s done this…he’s totally destroyed this country. He’s totally destroyed us. But we can get it back. We can get it back. But the way we’ve got to do it is [to] come together,” Walker said. 

The Republican senatorial candidate emphasized the need for people of character who believe in America and its flag to “stand up” and not “just hang out in Washington [D.C.].” 

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Tony Roberts, right, and other campaign rally attendees listen as candidate Herschel Walker, left, speaks during the Tuesday campaign rally. - photo by Julia Hansen

“Vote for what is right. That’s what I said I'm going to do. I'm not a politician. I’m a warrior for God,” Walker said. “I told them that when I got in, ‘If I’m going to Washington, Jesus Christ is coming with me.”

He called voter participation key to helping “straighten out” the county’s different problems and also shared his commitment to advocate for constituents, regardless of where they’re from or their skin color.

“You’re an American. You’re my family, and you’re not going to be hurt on my watch,” Walker said. 

During his comments, Steele reiterated the significance of the current senatorial race. 

“I’ve never seen an election this important for the future of our families,” Steele said. “Our children and our grandchildren’s futures depend on this election.”