On the surface, Herschel Walker does not appear to be a natural choice for the U.S. Senate. The Associated Press recently reported that the retired football player's record includes allegations that he "repeatedly threatened his ex-wife's life, exaggerated claims of financial success and alarmed business associates with unpredictable behavior." The article also referenced his "long struggle with mental illness," including a dissociative identity disorder diagnosis.
Complicating matters, Walker, who has never held or sought elected office, was encouraged to run in Georgia — despite living in Texas.
Despite all of this, Walker moved back to Georgia and launched a Republican campaign, which has not gone especially well so far.
For example, the retired athlete has avoided public interactions with voters and turned down interview requests with mainstream journalists. Describing his curious strategy of running for office while hiding, CNN recently noted, "Walker's schedule keeps him largely behind closed doors."
What's more, his bare-bones website includes effectively no information about the candidate, his ideas, or why he believes it'd be a good idea to elect the first-time candidate to the Senate.
And yet, Republicans are eager to welcome him to the chamber. Politico reported this morning:
Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker has won the endorsement of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, cementing his support from the Republican Party establishment in a race that could determine which party controls the chamber. The endorsement could help Walker lock down the GOP primary, where he faces several lesser-known opponents.
McConnell's endorsement comes just two days after Senate Minority Whip John Thune of South Dakota also backed Walker. They join a variety of other prominent GOP senators, including South Carolina's Lindsey Graham, who's reportedly played a key role in helping guide Walker's candidacy.
The Senate GOP leadership is following the lead of Donald Trump, who not only endorsed Walker, but who also publicly urged the then-Texan to move and run against incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock.
As best as I can tell, Republicans haven't gone into a lot of detail explaining why they think Walker would be a good federal lawmaker, but McConnell, who privately expressed "deep concerns" about the Georgian just two months ago, said in a statement this morning, "Herschel is the only one who can unite the party, defeat Senator Warnock, and help us take back the Senate."
In other words, GOP officials believe Walker might win — and for a post-policy party that sees the acquisition of power as the only goal that matters, that's good enough.