(WASHINGTON) — Two leading Republican senators traveled to Carrollton, Georgia, on Tuesday to support the state’s GOP Senate nominee, Herschel Walker, who has been embroiled in controversy after denying a report claiming that in 2009 he paid for an abortion for a woman who said she’s also the mother of one of his children.
Both Florida Sen. Rick Scott — chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, a major financial backer of Walker’s campaign — and Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton spoke at a stop Tuesday on Walker’s “Unite Georgia Bus Tour,” though they made little more than veiled references to the woman’s abortion claim against Walker, who has campaigned as staunchly anti-abortion.
“I know we’re in the time in a political campaign when people get tired of television ads and the lies they tell about Herschel Walker,” Cotton said. “But let me promise you: The most important advertisement that Herschel Walker can have for the next 28 days is all of you — talking to your friends and your family and your neighbors and your coworkers and saying simply, ‘I’m for Herschel."”
After the event, the senators — who were not joined by Walker — did not answer questions from reporters about if they had spoken to the candidate regarding the abortion allegations. Scott reiterated that “he’s denied the allegations.”
“Warnock and the Democrats want to make this about Herschel Walker’s yesterdays. Herschel Walker wants to make this about Georgia’s tomorrows,” Cotton said.
He and Scott spent most of their time on the stump applauding Walker’s positions on crime, inflation and border security, among other issues. They criticized Walker’s opponent, incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock, as a “rubber stamp” for President Joe Biden and Democratic policies.
“You want to vote for a man who believes America is a great country, a man who has overcome great adversity, a man who wants to bring the people of Georgia together and a man who believes our best days can be ahead of us. Well, then you should vote for the next U.S. senator from the great state of Georgia: Herschel Walker,” Scott said.
“If you like paying more for everything, you should vote for Warnock. Because he and Joe Biden did that. If you like paying double for gas, vote for Warnock, because he and Joe Biden did that,” Scott said.
Warnock — who has tried to highlight his bipartisan record in Congress — commented on the abortion claim against Walker on Thursday. He said at a campaign event that “what we’re hearing about my opponent is disturbing. I think the people of Georgia have a real choice about who they think is ready to represent them in the United States Senate.”
At Tuesday’s even with Cotton and Scott, Walker briefly touched on the claim, which he cast as a politically motivated “October surprise” in the final weeks of the race.
“Don’t let them be campaigning, come campaigning for you. They’re campaigning for your vote … They’ll do whatever it takes,” Walker said.
Scott, the head of the Senate Republicans’ campaign arm, said last week he was standing by Walker and pointed to Walker’s denial of the unnamed woman’s claim to The Daily Beast that he reimbursed her for an abortion more than a decade ago.
The woman, who described herself as an ex-girlfriend, told The Daily Beast that she has documents supporting her allegation: a receipt from an abortion clinic, a bank deposit receipt with an image of a $700 check that she said was signed by Walker sent within a week of the abortion and also a “get well” card that she said was signed by Walker.
ABC News has not independently verified the reporting.
Walker has repeatedly denied paying the woman for an abortion, including in a Tuesday interview with ABC News’ Linsey Davis.
He has not, however, disputed that he and the woman share a young son together and his campaign provided an NBC News reporter with some text messages between the woman and his wife that appear to show she has been in touch with them for years.
Walker said this summer that he has four children, including another son with his ex-wife.
After Walker denied the initial Daily Beast story, Scott said the NRSC would continue to back Walker and he argued that Democrats will “lie, cheat, and smear” because Walker was “winning” his race against Warnock.
“Herschel has denied these allegations and the NRSC and Republicans stand with him, and Georgians will stand with him too,” Scott said in a statement last week.
In a radio interview on Thursday, Walker again denied the abortion allegation but acknowledged past troubles that he said he overcame through his faith: “I wasn’t perfect. I had my problem with mental health. And I was, I’ve been, I hate to say I’ve been born again — but I have a new life.”
Walker is locked in a tight race against Warnock. The winner could decide control of the now 50-50 Senate.
Currently, Walker is trailing Warnock in the polls by about 3.5%, according to FiveThirtyEight.
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