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Heisman Trophy winner and Republican candidate for Senate Herschel Walker speaks at a rally on May 23, 2022 in Athens, Ga.
Heisman Trophy winner and Republican candidate for Senate Herschel Walker speaks at a rally on May 23, 2022 in Athens, Ga.Megan Varner / Getty Images

Midterm roundup: Herschel Walker faces blitz of negative headlines

Republican Herschel Walker faced a barrage of negative headlines this week in his race against Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga.

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It’s been a relentless week of negative headlines for Republican Herschel Walker, the untested former football star Republicans are counting on to dethrone Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock. 

While Walker had only previously discussed having one son publicly, he admitted this week — after two stories from the Daily Beast — that he had three others out of wedlock. (Walker has criticized absentee fathers, and the story claims that he’s had limited contact with at least one of his children.)

And just one day before the first Daily Beast story, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote about Walker’s repeated false claims that he was a member of law enforcement — including an FBI agent. (The campaign points to him attending a week at an FBI school, and being named an honorary deputy). 

That’s just a few days worth of headlines for Walker — just recently, he’s publicly questioned evolution and was accused of peddling junk science on Covid. And that doesn’t even touch on the domestic abuse allegations that have long cast a shadow over his campaign. 

It’s the kind of barrage of opposition research that helps explain why many Republicans were initially cool to his candidacy, and there may be more to come. But in the age of overwhelming partisanship, and amid a great environment for Republicans (who will likely attack Warnock over a custody dispute), the $300 million question is how the voters will respond. 

Elsewhere on the campaign trail:

Alabama Senate: Former Senate aide Katie Britt released her closing ad ahead of next week’s GOP runoff against Rep. Mo Brooks, making an appeal to voters who are “looking for new blood to shake things up in Washington.” Britt and outside groups supporting her have vastly outspent Brooks and his allies on the airwaves. 

Colorado Senate: A Democratic group launched another ad meddling in Colorado’s GOP Senate primary, knocking businessman Joe O’Dea. The group’s previous spot described controversial state Rep. Ron Hanks, who marched to the Capitol on Jan. 6, as “too conservative.” 

Massachusetts Governor: Democratic Attorney General Maura Healy launched her first TV ad buy tracked by AdImpact, reserving $108,000 worth of airtime starting three weeks before the Sept. 6 primary. 

Alaska At-Large: The NBC News Decision Desk projected that former Democratic state Rep. Mary Peltola secured the fourth spot in Alaska’s Top 4 special primary election to replace the late GOP Rep. Don Young. The other three candidates advancing to the Aug. 16 special election include former GOP Gov. Sarah Palin, Republican Nick Begich, and surgeon and 2020 Senate candidate Al Gross, who is running as a nonpartisan. 

Florida-10: Former Democratic Rep. Corrine Brown, who lost her 2016 primary while under indictment for multiple fraud charges, is running again in the open 10th District. Her initial felony convictions were later overturned, and last month she pleaded guilty to one count of tax fraud. Former Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson is running for the same seat, dropping his Senate bid to run for the House instead. 

Illinois-15: Donald Trump announced a June 25 rally in Illinois, a few days before the state’s primary. Trump’s Save America PAC didn’t announce any speakers yet, but Trump is backing GOP Rep. Mary Miller there against fellow GOP Rep. Rodney Davis. NBC News’ Vaughn Hillyard noted that Davis voted to certify 2020 election and supported an independent Jan. 6 commission.

Wyoming At -Large: GOP Rep. Liz Cheney has a new TV ad touting her work to help wildland firefighters.