February 23, 2021
Not since Aug. 20, 1956, when former Sen. Millard Tydings, D-Md., suddenly withdrew from a bid for the seat he lost six years earlier, has the abandonment of a former U.S. senator from a comeback campaign had such an impact on his state’s politics as that of former Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., on Tuesday morning.
By exiting the Republican primary for the seat of Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., Perdue has sparked fresh discussion of candidacies — notably one by college and pro-football legend Herschel Walker.
Perdue, 71, made his announcement that left the punditocracy and fellow pols speechless seven days after filing for the GOP primary.
Sources close to the former senator said he had a private dinner in Florida last week with Donald Trump with the hope of securing the endorsement of the former president.
But the same sources say Trump was non-committal regarding Georgia because other friends of his — notably former Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., —might enter the Senate race.
Collins, who just started his own Atlanta-based radio talk show, told reporters he was “keeping all my options” regarding another Senate race in 2022.
Last year, Collins lost the Republican primary for the special election for a Senate seat to appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga. She went on in November to place second to Warnock ( all candidates appear on the same ballot in Georgia special elections) and then lost the run-off to him in January.
Loeffler herself has not ruled out a comeback attempt, but has been focusing her energy on a new charity.
“But there are two words you’ll soon be hearing a lot — ‘Herschel Walker,'” veteran Georgia GOP consultant Matt Towery told Newsmax.
If anyone could be called a “hero” or “legend” in the Peach State, it is Walker. In a state where college football is considered the sport of kings, Walker starred with the University of Georgia’s Bulldogs, won the coveted Heisman Trophy in 1982 and was All-American three times.
Walker went on to play professional football and had stints with the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles, and the New York Giants.
At 58, he has long signaled he is a conservative Republican and recently testified before Congress against proposed reparations for slavery to American blacks.
If the athlete has any problem with a Senate bid, it is that he lives out of state. But supporters say, given his heroic status, Walker would be accepted if he simply bought a house and moved back. As veteran Georgia public relations man Phil Kent put it, “He could move back to his hometown of Athens on ‘Herschel Walker Drive.'”
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax