Sen. Raphael Warnock, Herschel Walker face off on key issues in debate

Published: Oct. 14, 2022 at 11:08 PM CDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - A fiery debate Friday night in Savannah between incumbent Democratic Georgia U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock and his Republican challenger, Herschel Walker, sparked headlines across the country and further heated up a race with major national implications.

The candidate traded barbs over a number of key issues, including abortion, federal student loan relief and which candidate is telling the truth.

Walker repeatedly attacked Senator Warnock’s character, citing a lawsuit against him and a report that his church, Ebenezer Baptist in Atlanta, recently evicted low-income residents over small amounts of missed rent payments.

Warnock fired back, specifically calling Walker out for previously repeatedly claiming to have worked in law enforcement.

“We will see time and time again tonight, as we’ve already seen, that my opponent has a problem with the truth,” Warnock said.

In possibly the biggest moment of the debate, Walker responded by pulling a badge out from his pocket, insisting that his claims surrounding his involvement with law enforcement are legitimate.

“I have worked with many police officers,” Walker quipped.

The candidates verbalized their stances on several key issues, highlighting their clear differences. But the most passionate debate may have centered around abortion rights.

Walker attacked Warnock for being a pastor while also supporting abortion rights.

“And on abortion, I’m a Christian. I believe in life, Walker said. “And I tell people this: Georgia is a state that respects life, and I’ll be a senator that protects life.”

Walker also defended himself over a woman’s claim that he paid for her abortion more than a decade ago, in 2009.

“I said that was a lie, and I’m not backing down,” he said.

In contrast, Warnock argued the government should not be involved in such matters, and lamented the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

“I think that the women of this country and the women of this state woke up one summer morning, and a core protection that they’ve known for 50 years was taken from them by an extremist supreme court,” Warnock said.

“The two also expressed different views on federal student loan debt relief and insulin prices. Sen. Warnock accused Walker of ignoring the pressing need of diabetics.

“I think he should tell the people of Georgia why he thinks they should have expensive insulin, and why the pharmaceutical companies should be able to charge us whatever they like,” Warnock said.

Walker responded by accusing Sen. Warnock of not understanding the complexities of the issue.

“You know, I believe in reducing insulin, but at the same time you got to eat right. He may not know this. I know many people who are on insulin, and unless you’re eating right, insulin is doing you no good,” Walker said.

The two candidates also traded barbs over President Biden’s decision to forgive federal student loan debt for millions of Americans, something Sen. Warnock fought for.

“I pushed the President to do student debt relief. He did $10,000 and with my urging, he did $20,000 for people with Pell Grants. I think it was the right move,” Warnock said.

Walker called the move a disgrace.

“Senator Warnock brags about $400 billion that now the taxpayers, all you in the audience, gotta pay for. You gotta pay that debt. And I didn’t co-sign for anyone’s loan. I hope no one out here co-signed for anyone’s loan, because I didn’t co-sign for anyone’s loan. It’s not right, it’s not fair,” Walker said.

Some of the most tense moments of the debate centered around the each candidates integrity. Walker quoted the bible when attacking the Reverend Senator.

“Do not bear false witness Senator! Do not bear false witness!” Walker said.

Sen. Warnock responded in kind.

“Just because he says something doesn’t mean it’s true.”

Reactions from political parties

Herschel Walker and Senator Raphael Warnock had the support of people in the streets and millions watching the Georgia Senate debate.

For a full hour, the incumbent and challenger debated hot topic issues impacting the lives of people across the state.

Their political parties couldn’t be any prouder.

“The people got a chance to see to see the two candidates side by side and answer the questions and whether or not they are really prepared to represent Georgia,” said former Savannah Mayor Otis Johnson. “For me, it just reinforced my decision that our current senator needs six more years.”

“The last time I was proud to have Herschel Walker on my team he was playing football for the University of Georgia. He was spot on. He brought out the points that needed to be brought out. The clear choice here is Herschel Walker...someone who will stand up to Joe Biden as a opposed to the rubber stamp Raphael Warnock,” said U.S. Representative Buddy Carter.

Sen. Warnock and Herschel Walker focused on issues like reproductive rights, crime and the economy, at times getting a little personal in their responses, both parties think they held their own.

Rep. Carter said: “The one point I think he did exceptionally with was the truth. Let’s face it. Herschel Walker has been through a lot. I could not be prouder of someone who has gone through what he has gone through and achieved what he achieved. It should be a lesson to all of us...mental health is a serious issue in our country.”

Johnson said: “People are being gouged and the cap on prescription drugs and other things that are so important to all Georgians no matter what color or gender they are. That kinda thing shows the substance of someone who is not just against something, but for something.”

People wanted another debate but they have decided not to do another one before Election Day.