SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — The top two candidates in the Georgia Senate race pitched themselves to voters, answering questions that are the top of mind for voters in the upcoming 2022 midterms.
All eyes were on the Georgia Senate debate on Friday and there were several moments that will have people talking. This race is one of the most anticipated in the 2022 midterms and the clashes Friday night led to some crucial moments that could impact the election.
During the hour-long debate at the J.W. Marriott Savannah in Savannah’s Plant Riverside District, Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker squared off, trading shots.
It’s no surprise that abortion and the claims that Walker had paid for an abortion in the past, were going to be hot topics for both candidates.
On Oct. 3, The Daily Beast reported that one of Walker’s former girlfriends claimed that he paid for an abortion for her in 2009. The woman claims he sent her a check worth $700 and a get-well-soon card.
“I say that’s a lie and I’m not backing down,” Walker said when asked about the payment during Friday’s debate. “We have Sen. Warnock, people, that would do anything and say anything for his seat, but I’m not gonna back down. This seat is too important to the Georgia people for me to back down right now.”
Warnock fired back, saying the U.S. Supreme Court had stripped protection from women, and that “a patient’s room is too narrow and small and cramped a space for a woman, her doctor and the United States government.”
Warnock said male politicians are too involved with abortion and if he’s reelected, he’ll be there to stand alongside Georgia women.
“I trust women more than I trust politicians,” he said.
Walker has positioned himself as a pro-life candidate, so much so, that he is also not in favor of abortion under any circumstances.
“Did he not mention that there’s a baby in that room as well?” Walker responded. “And also, did he not mention that he’s asking, he’s asking the taxpayer to pay for it? So he’s bringing the government back into the room.”
“Instead of aborting those babies, why are you not baptizing those babies?” Walker added.
Walker’s sheriff badge
Walker has claimed to have worked in law enforcement, however, there’s no evidence that he has, according to The Hill. Walker’s campaign has said that he majored in criminal justice at the University of Georgia.
At the conclusion of Warnock’s answer on how he would address gun violence, he took a jab at Walker’s claim that he has a law enforcement background.
“I’ve never pretended to be a police officer and I’ve never threatened a shootout with the police,” Warnock said.
That comment prompted Walker to pull out a sheriff’s badge from beneath his suit jacket. According to The Hill, the badge is an honorary badge and it doesn’t give Walker the ability to arrest anyone.
“And you know what’s so funny, (I) worked with many police officers,” Walker said.
However, the Nexstar debate rules — which were shared with both candidates before the debate — stated that props were prohibited, as WSAV moderator Tina Tyus-Shaw re-explained during the exchange.
Walker and Warnock were asked about where they lay blame for inflation and the rising costs. Warnock brought up the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, which included a provision aimed at lowering the cost of insulin.
“I believe in reducing insulin, but at the same time, you gotta eat right,” Walker said. “Unless you have eating right, Insulin is doing you no good.”
Walker also suggested that food and gas prices need to be reduced as well, so people can afford to eat right and travel to medical appointments.
Warnock said he’s had several church members who’ve had limbs amputated because they couldn’t afford insulin. He then pointed to Walker, saying that he believes Walker is blaming the people for the rising price of Insulin.
“I don’t think it’s their fault. I think it’s the fault of these pharmaceutical companies,” Warnock said. “Insulin has been around for a hundred years, the patent was sold for $1, there engaged in price gouging, and too many of the people in Washington think they work for the pharmaceutical companies and I work for the people of Georgia.”
Walker then jabbed back, saying that Warnock is the politician in Washington with the ability to reduce insulin prices.
The candidates were also asked about how they’d address gun violence in Georgia and throughout America. This came just a day after a mass shooting in Raleigh, North Carolina which left five people dead and two injured.
Warnock mentioned the passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, claiming that he believes the law will save lives.
“My heart goes out when I see the kinds of tragedies that we are witnessing all across our state, all across our country, and it’s the reason I have passed legislation to support law enforcement,” Warnock said.
Walker said he will not support any legislation in regard to gun restrictions. He also then slammed Warnock, claiming that he’s called police names, which he believes has led morale and recruitment to decline.
“He’s empowered criminals to think they’re better than the police,” Walker said, adding Warnock’s support for no-cash bail has led to an increase in fentanyl moving across the U.S.-Mexico border.
After Walker said he’s received more support from Georgia sheriffs than Warnock has received, Warnock snapped back, saying he supports police officers and that he’s prayed with them and their families. He mentioned two fallen Cobb County police officers that were shot and killed in early September.
“You can support police officers as I’ve done, through the Cops Program, through the invest to protect, while at the same time, holding police officers, like all professions, accountable,” Warnock said.
Warnock then took aim at Walker, saying he had never pretended to be an officer and never threatened a shooting with police.