Herschel Walker and Raphael Warnock hit heavy blows in US Senate debate in Georgia

WASHINGTON, Oct. 14. Democratic US Senator Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker debated issues ranging from abortion and policing to personal integrity on Friday, as Georgia's key contest that could help determine control of the Senate was at its peak. head in a controversial television debate.

Walker, once a football star and political upstart backed by former President Donald Trump, seeks to stamp the incumbent as a stamp on the agenda of Democratic President Joe Biden, whom Republicans hold accountable for inflation, crime and other social ills.

"This race is not about me. It's about what Raphael Warnock and Joe Biden have done for you and your family," Walker said. "I'm here to fix it."

Warnock, pastor of a historic Atlanta church who has served less than two years in the Senate, presents himself as a committed public servant who has worked to limit insulin prices, control gun violence and protect rights. Their fight is one of the most closely watched contests in the November 8 congressional elections.

During an hour-long debate in Savannah, Walker accused Warnock of assaulting police, empowering criminals and allowing the powerful painkiller fentanyl to enter Georgia by not protecting the US border.

"We'll see time and again tonight, as we've seen, that my opponent has a problem with the truth. And just because he says something doesn't mean it's true," Warnock replied. "One thing I haven't done is, I've never pretended to be a police officer and I've never threatened a shootout with the police," he added, referring to media reports that Walker falsely claimed to have worked in law enforcement and had spoken of gunfights. with the police.

Walker then showed what appeared to be a badge and was reprimanded by the debate moderator for using props.

Republicans have admitted to struggling in the past with mental health and were asked if he was still receiving treatment. "I keep getting help if I need it. But I don't need any help. I'm fine," Walker said.

The race has been rocked by media reports that Walker, who has voiced opposition to unqualified abortion, paid for an abortion in 2009 to end the pregnancy of a woman he dated and who later gave birth to one of his children. Walker called the allegations a "big lie". Reuters has not independently confirmed the claims.

During the debate, Walker repeated his statement that the report was false and reiterated his position on abortion: "I am a Christian. I believe in life." Democrats hold narrow majorities in the Senate and House of Representatives. Senate control can be decided by the results of races in Georgia, Arizona, Nevada, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Georgia was a reliable Republican state, with two Republican senators, until Biden defeated Trump in the 2020 presidential election. Warnock and fellow Democrat Jon Ossoff then claimed the state's two Senate seats in the January 2021 second-round election.

Warnock dodged questions about whether he would back Biden for a second term in 2024, saying: "I didn't spend a minute thinking about what politicians to run for in 2024." Walker said he would support Trump: "Yes, I will. And let me tell you, because President Trump is my friend."

A recent poll conducted by the University of Georgia showed Warnock led Walker 46% to 43% among possible voters. Walker is known for making confusing statements about policy issues like climate change, while Warnock is an eloquent speaker who was senior pastor at Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church, where slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King once preached. Andra Gillespie, a professor of political science at Emory University in Atlanta, said the debate was too unconvincing to make a difference in the race, with Walker showing little more than understanding Republican talking points and Warnock failing to dominate the exchange. If no candidate gets more than 50% of the vote on 8 November, the election will be decided in the second round of elections on 6 December. Each candidate promised to accept the election results.

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