Walker answers domestic violence ad with mental health message
August 11, 2022
Also in today’s edition of Swing State Georgia:
Gov. Kemp says he’d take a Trump endorsement.
The campaign trail is busy in the Peach State.
Sen. Lindsey Graham tries to get out of his Trump testimony.
For much of the 2022 campaign for U.S. Senate in Georgia, Herschel Walker’s rivals have tried to use his own words to undercut his credibility. This week a new ad campaign illustrated the challenges of shifting the attacks in a different direction.
The Republican Accountability PAC became one of the first outside groups to put significant money – a six-figure ad buy - behind a TV spot that featured Walker’s ex-wife describing him physically assaulting her and holding a gun to her head.
On Wednesday, the Republican Senate hopeful offered a glimpse of how he’ll respond if another outside group – or U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock’s campaign – takes a similar strategy.
“My opponents launched a dirty attack ad. They dug up an old video and took it out of context,” Walker said in a response video. “My opponents think they’re hurting me — but I am glad they did this ad. Because it gives me an opportunity to end the stigma around mental health.”
Walker went on to say that he and his ex-wife are friends and thanked her for helping him during a tough time in his life. Then he invoked his struggle with dissociative identity disorder.
“We need to end the stigma around mental health,” he said, adding: “I would rather listen to a friend talk about his struggles than to go to their funeral.”
The AJC’s Shannon McCaffrey has written extensively about Walker’s DID diagnosis and the questions surrounding the doctor Walker worked with in Texas as he was diagnosed.
TRUMP DETENTE. Could Donald Trump be on the verge of making up with Gov. Brian Kemp? We’re not holding our breath, but we have our latest example that the peace negotiations between the two men are progressing.
The Republican governor was asked this week on the Guy Benson Show whether he’d welcome Trump’s endorsement.
“Look, I want everybody’s endorsement going into this November 8th election. That’s what I said after primary,” he said. “It’s time for all Republicans to unite and really all Georgians to unite against Stacey Abrams, who scares a lot of people.”
It came on the heels of this Trump response when he was asked by Fox News over the weekend whether he’d consider letting bygones be bygones to endorse Kemp again: “Well, we’ll be looking at everything.”
Again, we’re not betting on an outright endorsement. Trump put Kemp high on his revenge list after the governor refused his attempts to overturn the election and backed David Perdue’s ill-fated primary challenge.
But Kemp doesn’t need Trump’s blessing. He just needs the former president to lay off the attacks – which is exactly what he’s done since the May primary.
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COUNTERPUNCH. Gov. Brian Kemp is set to announce his first major reelection policy proposal at an afternoon press conference.
As we reported Monday, he will unveil a roughly $1 billion tax refund and a separate homeowners rebate, both funded by a record surplus that tops $5 billion, along with more than $2 billion still in the bank.