Georgia Senate hopeful Herschel Walker (R) downplayed himself ahead of his debate with Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) next month, saying “I’m not that smart” — comments that his campaign argued were sarcasm.
After some haggling between the two campaigns, the candidates announced last week that Warnock and Walker would be participating in a televised debate on Oct. 14 with Savannah, Ga., Nexstar affiliate WSAV. The Hill is owned by Nexstar.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Walker was asked what kind of preparation he was doing for the debate.
“Talking to the voters, talking to you. You told me I gotta prepare, so I’m preparin’,” he said to the reporters. “I’m this country boy, you know, I’m not that smart. And he’s that preacher. He’s a smart man, wears these nice suits. So he going to show up there, embarrass me at the debate, October the 14th. And I’m just waiting, you know, I’ll show up and I’m [going to] do my best.”
Will Kiley, a spokesperson for Walker’s campaign, argued the candidate’s comments were sarcasm.
“It is a sad day when so many people in politics and the media don’t understand sarcasm. Herschel has been traveling across Georgia for over a year meeting the people and listening to their concerns,” he said in a statement. “Herschel is going to be ready on October 14 in Savannah to debate Raphael Warnock, who has to stand there and explain his horrendous voting record to the people.”
The Georgia Senate race has been considered one of the most competitive of this cycle and has been rated a “toss up” by the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.
A Quinnipiac University poll released last week showed Warnock leading Walker by 6 percentage points among likely Georgia voters, with the incumbent receiving 52 percent compared to the former football star receiving 46 percent.