Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., has launched two new hard-hitting TV ads in Georgia, going after Republican challenger Herschel Walker over allegations that he paid for an ex-girlfriend's abortion and threatened his ex-wife.
The ads represent a stepped-up attack from a campaign that has largely stayed upbeat on the airwaves and relied on outside groups to hit Walker on allegations about his personal life. Early voting began in Georgia this week and polls show the two candidates in a tight race with high stakes in the battle for Senate control.
In response to a request for comment, the Warnock campaign didn’t say how much it was spending on the two ads, which began airing with no press release or public announcement from the campaign.
“As we’ve done throughout the campaign, we are making sure Georgians know the facts about Herschel Walker’s record, including his support for a nationwide abortion ban and no exceptions for rape, incest or to protect the mother’s life,” Warnock deputy campaign manager Rachel Petri told NBC News. “It’s another example of how he isn’t ready to represent Georgia.”
The first ad, called “Hypocrite,” addresses allegations that he paid for an abortion for a former partner in 2009.
“For you, Herschel Walker wants to ban abortion,” an announcer says, before playing a clip in which Walker supports a national abortion ban. “But for himself?”
The ad then highlights TV news clips citing the Daily Beast article which broke the abortion payment allegations. The ad also features footage from Walker’s recent interview with NBC News in which he was presented with a copy of the check.
“Is that your signature on the check though?” interviewer Kristen Welker asks. Walker answers: “Yes, that’s my…” Then the ad ends.
Walker has called the claim a "flat out lie" and denied knowing the payment was for an abortion.
A second spot called “Another Lie” focuses on claims that the former University of Georgia football star threatened to kill his ex-wife, Cindy Grossman. Walker has denied the allegations, telling Welker, "What I wrote about is in my book, I’ve been very open in my book. So anyone else outside of my book is lying to you."
After playing a soundbite of Walker telling Welker he’s been transparent about his past behavior, the ad's female announcer says, “Another lie.”
Walker’s book flashes up on screen as the narrator continues: “Here’s Walker’s book and he didn’t write a word about his violence towards women. Nothing about threatening to kill his wife.”
In a statement to NBC News on Thursday, Walker communications director Will Kiley chalked up the attack ads to desperation.
“Raphael Warnock embarrassed himself at the debate in Savannah. He’s desperate and it shows,” Kiley said. “Everything points to Herschel having the momentum on his side. Herschel is focused on the issues that Georgians care about, like the economy and crime.” Republicans have also gone on the offensive in recent weeks. A recent ad by Walker and the National Republican Senatorial Committee ties Warnock to President Joe Biden and accuses them of “radically changing America.”