Democrats are escalating their attacks on Georgia Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker with a new television ad that calls attention to the violent episodes in Walker’s past.
“Herschel Walker has repeatedly threatened to kill his ex-wife,” begins the narrator of the 30-second spot from Georgia Honor, a political organization closely affiliated with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and his Senate Majority PAC.
The ad, shared first with NBC News, starts airing Wednesday as part of a $33 million blitz that the group has planned through Election Day. It represents the first substantial effort by national Democrats to amplify abuse allegations against Walker, a former University of Georgia football star who played in the NFL. Walker easily won a GOP primary in May, despite a rival’s attempts to call attention to his baggage and warn that it could be a liability in the general election.
Walker's threats and alleged menacing behavior toward his ex-wife, Cindy Grossman, and other women date to at least 2001, according to police records obtained by NBC News and other outlets. Walker was never criminally charged. But he and Grossman discussed several incidents publicly after Walker's 2008 memoir described his being diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder, or DID, formerly known as multiple personality disorder. Walker has said he developed “alters” to deal with stress and trauma, and he has noted how memory loss is a symptom of DID.
A close ally of former President Donald Trump, Walker is aiming to unseat Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock in a competitive race that could determine partisan control of the Senate. An Emerson College poll released this week found Walker and Warnock statistically tied.
The new Georgia Honor commercial uses excerpts from police reports and old interviews, as well as an undated Christian Broadcasting Network re-enactment of Walker pointing a gun at Grossman.
“The first time he held the gun to my head … he held the gun to my temple and said he was going to blow my brains out,” Grossman is then seen saying in a clip from a 2008 interview with CNN.
The ad ends with the narrator encouraging viewers to “look up the public records yourself,” along with text onscreen prompting viewers to search “Herschel Walker Violence” on Google.
“While Herschel Walker has demonstrated a pattern of repeating lies and spreading falsehoods, he has never denied his ex-wife Cindy’s accusations of violence,” Senate Majority PAC spokesperson Veronica Yoo said in an emailed statement. “We encourage voters to further research Herschel Walker’s publicly documented record of violence and decide for themselves whether he is ready to represent Georgia values in the United States Senate.”
A group led by anti-Trump Republicans launched an ad this month that also featured video from Grossman’s CNN interview. In response to the push, Walker said Grossman did the interview at his request and criticized the ad, saying it played into the stigma of mental illness.
“In 2008, my former wife, Cindy, and I gave a TV interview to share our story — not about the glory days of football but about the pain of my mental health struggles and their effect on our marriage,” Walker wrote then in a campaign fundraising email. “The ad makers took something designed to do good and turned it into something evil, which will harm innocent people.”