Five Things To Watch in Any Herschel Walker-Raphael Warnock Live Debate

Georgia Republican senatorial candidate Herschel Walker has said he is prepared to debate Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock live, having avoided facing off against his GOP rivals during the primary.

Walker has twice said he has accepted Warnock's challenge to debate him in front of a television audience ahead of November's midterms, with the former NFL star laying down a potential date of October 14 and a location.

"Sen. Warnock, I'm ready to debate," Walker said in a video posted to Twitter late Tuesday night. "In fact, I just accepted a debate in your backyard—Savannah— where you've got homefield advantage."

The statement arrived after Walker, who is endorsed by Donald Trump, skipped all the live televised debates when he was taking part in the GOP primary against fellow Republican candidates Gary Black, Josh Clark, Kelvin King, Jon McColumn, and Latham Saddler.

Walker still managed to easily win the May 24 primary, mainly on the back of the footballer's hero status in the state, and the support of the former president.

Below, Newsweek takes a look at what to look out for in the potential debate between Walker and Warnock.

Herschel Walker warnock debate
Republican Herschel Walker has accepted an invitation to debate Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock ahead of November's midterm. MANDEL NGAN/ James Gilbert/Getty Images

Will The Debate Actually Go Ahead?

While Walker has said he is now ready to debate Warnock, the candidate did not say he will do so in any of the three formats that have already been accepted by the incumbent.

The Walker campaign told The Associated Press the October 14 debate he is proposing will be hosted by Nexstar Media and WSAV and broadcast on several channels across Georgia.

However, Warnock announced on June 23 that he accepted invitations for debates from the WTOC-TV channel in Savannah, a group of newsrooms in Macon, and the Atlanta Press Club.

For any debate to take place, either candidate must agree to the other's terms, with Warnock already suggesting it is Walker who must join the debates he has already penciled in.

"Two months ago, Rev. Warnock accepted invitations to three well-established Georgia debates in Atlanta, Savannah, and Macon to be broadcast statewide, after Herschel Walker said he would debate Rev. Warnock anywhere, anytime. Nothing has changed," Warnock's campaign manager Quentin Fulks said in a statement.

"Reverend Warnock remains committed to debating Herschel Walker and giving Georgians three opportunities to see the clear choice about who is ready to represent Georgia."

Can Walker Avoid Erratic Statements?

There has already been speculation that one of the reasons Walker has avoided public debates is that the GOP are worried about his tendencies to make errors and unpredictable comments that may hinder his chances.

In the last few months, Walker's gaffes include declaring that there are 52 states, and making a confusing claim about "bad air" when asked about climate change and the Green New Deal during a local GOP picnic in Hall County, Atlanta.

"Since we don't control the air, our good air decided to float over to China's bad air so when China gets our good air, their bad air got to move," Walker said. "So it moves over to our good air space. Then now we got to clean that back up, while they're messing ours up."

Walker also gave a confused answer when asked about changing gun laws in the wake of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, in May.

"What I'd like to do, what I'd like to do is see it and everything and stuff," Walker said. "I'd like to see it."

How Much Of Walker's Personal Life Will Be Discussed?

Walker's campaign is in danger of derailing thanks to a series of damaging stories about his personal life, and claims he fabricated many details about his education and employment history.

These include admitting he has several love children he previously did not acknowledge, despite previously attacking absent fathers, and allegations he violently threatened his ex-wife, Cindy Grossman, who secured a protective order against him in 2005.

Walker's campaign website also falsely claimed that he had graduated from the University of Georgia—which he left after his junior season in order to play football professionally—and then attempted to claim he never said he graduated from the college despite also doing so on camera.

In June, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution also scrutinized Walker's claims down the years that he has worked for law enforcement agencies and even as an FBI agent.

It remains to be seen if Warnock would be prepared to discuss Walker's personal life while trying to paint him as unsuitable for the Senate, or lead more into his previous false claims.

Herschel Walker trump
Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker, right, speaks at a rally with former President Donald Trump on September 25, 2021 in Perry, Georgia. Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Will Warnock Mention Joe Biden?

One potential line of attack from Herschel could be trying to tar Warnock's campaign with the Joe Biden administration, as the president continues to see chronically low opinion ratings with the country experiencing record high gas prices and inflation hitting a four-decade high of 9.1 percent in June.

A recent report by Fox 5 Atlanta said Warnock appeared to distance himself from Biden—including only being mentioned by name once—while taking questions at his 53rd birthday party on July 23.

When asked about Biden's performance, Warnock replied: "I'm focused on the job I'm doing. When that means standing with this person or that person, it's based on what it does for Georgia."

Walker's campaign is reported to be prepared to frame the Midterm election as a referendum on the "Biden-Warnock agenda."

"This is still a national race," said Gail Gitcho, a senior adviser to Walker. "The burden is on Raphael Warnock and the extremely close ties he has to Joe Biden in this environment. Herschel has put him on the defensive."

How Will Debates Affect Polls?

Warnock so far appears to be benefiting from Walker's troubles during his campaign, with several polls saying he is the favorite to win November's election.

According to an InsiderAdvantage/FOX 5 Atlanta poll released July 29, Warnock leads Walker by 48 percent compared to 45 percent.

A July 28 Fox News poll gave Warnock a 4 percentage point lead (46 to 42), with Warnock holding a 9-point lead (48 to 39) in a recent SurveyUSA/11Alive News poll.

Warnock will be hoping to solidify his lead in the wake of any televised debates, with Walker potentially being able to give his campaign a much-needed boost with a successful performance.

Walker and Warnock have been contacted for comment.