Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) lent his support to Herschel Walker on Thursday as Walker’s runoff election against Raphael Warnock looms on Dec. 6.

“What we need to understand is that if we win this seat, it changes the course of the country. It changes the Republican Party forever because Herschel Walker is a transformational figure in American politics,” Graham told a gathering of almost 400 people in Gainesville, on scenic Lake Lanier in north Georgia.

He got the crowd going for Walker on a cold night outdoors in front of the Carroll Daniel Construction building in downtown Gainesville. Graham was to have been joined by fellow Senators Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and John Kennedy (R-La.), but they had to return to Washington for a vote, said a member of Walker’s staff.

Walker’s campaign has been gathering support from other Republicans in a race that will determine whether Democrats control the Senate or have to share power with the Republicans. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who won a decisive victory over Stacey Abrams last week in another closely watched race, is putting his campaign machinery to work for Walker.

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Herschel Walker speaks in Gainesville, Ga. on Nov. 17, 2022, as he campaigns against Raphael Warnock in the Senate runoff. (Photo courtesy of Justin Kane Photography.)

“Want to feel warmer?” Graham asked the crowd, bundled up against temperatures that dropped into the 20s overnight. “We fired Nancy Pelosi today.”

Various supporters held signs that said “Eviction: Final Notice: R. Warnock,” a theme Walker has picked up on after revelations that Warnock’s church, the Ebenezer Baptist Church, once led by Martin Luther King, Jr., had recently evicted tenants from a church-owned apartment building for being behind on their rent by as little as $28.

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A Herschel Walker supporter at a Senate runoff rally in Gainesville, Ga. on Nov. 17, 2022, at which Walker and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) spoke. (Photo courtesy of Justin Kase Photography.)

“The meanest people in the world are liberals. And apparently, they don’t know how to manage an apartment building,” said Graham, seizing on the theme.

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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) campaigns for Herschel Walker in Gainesville, Ga. on Nov. 17, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Justin Kase Photography.)

Graham compared Walker’s treatment at the hands of Warnock’s campaign, which spent more than $100 million in the general election on ads attacking Walker’s messy personal life, with the Democrats’ rough treatment of Brett Kavanaugh when he was nominated for the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Remember Kavanaugh? Remember what they tried to do to him? They tried to ruin the man’s life. No more qualified person has ever been nominated. And we’re talking about a party in high school nobody can remember.”

“When it comes to liberals, there are no rules. When it comes to conservatives, [liberals] can do anything and say anything,” Graham told the crowd. “Herschel stood up to $100 million in lies. Every media outlet in the country is in the Democratic pocket, and he’s still standing. Let me tell you—he’s a man.”

“Kavanaugh didn’t quit. Aren’t you glad he didn’t quit? Trump stood behind Kavanaugh. Aren’t you glad he did? I stood up for Kavanaugh. Aren’t you glad I did? Well, what happened to Kavanaugh? He went to the United States Supreme Court. And what’s gonna happen to Herschel Walker? All he needs is you and your friends to come out one more time.”

Walker, in giving his stump speech, seemed to warm to the challenge of the runoff. He quoted Scripture to criticize Warnock’s church evictions, as well as his preaching from the pulpit about white privilege.

“I was made for this,” he told his supporters.

Walker and Graham spoke out against a litany of issues: liberal abortion laws, defunding the police, Biden administration policies that cut U.S. oil production and forced Americans to buy more oil abroad, radical gender policies like allowing men to compete in women’s sports, and recent military preoccupation with pronoun usage.

“His pronoun,” Walker said of his opponent, “is going to be ‘former senator.’ “

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Herschel Walker speaks at a rally in Gainesville, Ga. on Nov. 17, 2022 before the Senate runoff election. (Photo courtesy of Justin Kane Photography.)

The Walker-Warnock matchup is the last Senate race left undecided after Nov. 8, as neither candidate reached 50 percent of the popular vote required for election in Georgia.

With the Democrats’ victories in a few later races, the Georgia race diminished somewhat in importance. The Republicans, whose predicted red wave washed up on the electoral rocks, can no longer win a clear Senate majority.

It still matters, though. The Democrats hold a 50-49 edge. If Walker wins and denies Warnock reelection, the split returns to the 50-50 division in effect for the last two years, with neither party holding a majority-party advantage in matters like committee assignments. Vice President Kamala Harris would hold the tie-breaking vote. If Warnock wins, that will give the Democrats a 51-49 edge, and a clear majority.

The Democrats have sued to lengthen the runoff’s short early voting period to include the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 26. The runoff is the first such statewide election held since the state reformed election law to shorten the wait for the runoff from nine weeks to four. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger interpreted state law to bar that Saturday as it’s within two days of a holiday. Democrats argued in court filings that the clause doesn’t apply to runoffs.

Dan M. Berger

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By GIL