Georgia Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker is once again facing questions about his residency in the Peach State and has had to address his past admission he "lives in Texas."
In the last week of his runoff campaign against the incumbent Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock, an audio recording emerged of Walker describing himself during a campaign speech in January as living in Texas and deciding to run for Georgia’s Senate seat while at his Texas "home."
According to CNN, which reviewed the recording, Walker gave at least four interviews about his Georgia run from his Texas home.
You can hear Walker's admission in the video below.
During a January campaign event in which he spoke to University of Georgia College Republicans, Walker said:
“Everyone asks me, why did I decide to run for a Senate seat? Because to be honest with you, this is never something I ever, ever, ever thought in my life I’d ever do. And that’s the honest truth."
“As I was sitting in my home in Texas, I was sitting in my home in Texas, and I was seeing what was going on in this country. I was seeing what was going on in this country with how they were trying to divide people.”
"I live in Texas. I went down to the border off and on sometimes. Why do our elected officials go down to the border for like an hour to give a soundbite?"
The revelation has also increased attention on a separate controversy regarding a homestead exemption tax break the Walker family received.
Shortly after Walker declared his candidacy in August 2021, news outlets reported that Walker's wife, Julie Blanchard, voted in Georgia's election in 2020 despite the fact they live in Texas. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution broke the story, which noted that under most circumstances, it is illegal for non-residents to vote in Georgia.
According to election records, Blanchard listed her Atlanta address on her absentee ballot mailed in October 2020 from the couple's Westlake, Texas, home. However, Georgia state law makes clear that residency is based on where a voter's "habitation is fixed," and that those who move out of state lose their eligibility to vote there.
The couple received a homestead exemption on their property taxes after purchasing their Texas property in 2011; Blanchard did not claim a homestead exemption on her Fulton County, Georgia property in 2020.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported this week that state investigators had received a legal complaint urging them to "probe whether … Walker violated the law by receiving a tax break on his Texas home meant for primary residents of that state even as he runs for federal office in Georgia."
The news has prompted Warnock himself to question Walker's capacity to lead.
The reemergence of Walker's residency and homestead exemption controversies have exposed him to renewed criticism online.
Walker will face Warnock in a runoff next Tuesday. Although Democrats have already secured control of the Senate following last month's midterm elections, the contest will decide whether Democrats will enjoy a true majority rather than a 50-50 split that would require Vice President Kamala Harris to serve as the tiebreaker on proposed legislation.
In Georgia, a runoff election is required within four weeks of a federal election if no candidate wins over 50 percent of the vote. Last month, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger confirmed there would be a runoff after it became clear that neither candidate had secured an outright majority.
Walker has insisted that the scandal "doesn't hurt me at all" and resisted suggestions that he is a carpetbagger, telling Fox News that the renewed attention on his Texas residency "tells you how desperate Raphael Warnock is right now."
Walker—a former pro football player with no political experience—told the news outlet that he is "more Georgia" than Warnock, adding that everyone in the state knows "that I'm Georgia born, Georgia bred, and when I die, I'll be Georgia dead."