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Republicans are annoyed that Herschel Walker has millions in unspent campaign funds




Herschel Walker, who entered the 2022 Senate race in Georgia with the support of Donald Trump, ended his failed campaign with more than $5 million in the bank.

Few have been calling for Herschel Walker’s return to politics since he bowed out of his Georgia Senate bid nearly two years ago. But they are certainly interested in his campaign money.

Georgia and national Republicans, who desperately need money, are furious that Walker has more than $4 million in leftover campaign funds and appears to have no intention of using it to help the Republican Party or Donald Trump in the key battleground state in November.

With the Republican Party of Georgia near bankruptcy and the Republican National Committee regularly outspent by its Democratic counterpart, Republicans say Walker’s unspent millions could go a long way toward addressing the GOP’s cash crunch.

“These resources were requested and given in support of his candidacy as a Republican in Georgia, and unless he intends to use them again for his own candidacy, I certainly hope the favor will be returned,” said John Watson, a former GOP President of the State of Georgia. “Georgia Republicans must be supported by those dollars in whatever legal way the campaign can.”

Since the political novice and former football star lost to Democratic Rev. Rafael Warnock in the high-profile race, he has all but disappeared from political circles. Walker floated through the primaries, but his campaign was dogged by multiple personal scandals, exposing children born out of wedlock and hidden abortions that undermined his campaign talk of conservative values. He was consistently raised money by Warnock, and his campaign’s strategy was undermined by Walker’s interference.

After the race, Walker ultimately re-enrolled at the University of Georgia to complete his bachelor’s degree — the same school where he won a Heisman Trophy as a junior decades ago.

When reached by phone, Walker denied his seven-figure bank balance of unspent money in his campaign account.

‘There was no more money in my account. Everyone keeps saying that,” Walker said.

Asked to clarify what he meant, Walker quickly ended the conversation and said he was writing a paper. He said “we can talk about it for a while,” but did not respond to multiple further questions, including the most recent last week.

A Georgia GOP strategist with knowledge of Walker’s campaign said the unspent money should be returned to donors, shared with Republican committees or used to help Trump in the 2024 race.

“Republicans are being overspent everywhere during the election and there is a significant amount of resources there,” said the strategist, who was granted anonymity to discuss the matter. “It could support Trump, who has done a lot for Herschel’s campaign.”

Walker, a former NFL running back who entered the 2022 Georgia Senate race with Trump’s support, ended his failed campaign with more than $5 million in the bank. He still had $4.3 million in his account at the end of March, according to the latest financial disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Walker has transferred $100,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s Judicial Recount Fund and has given about $400,000 to various nonprofits and charities. But most of his remaining campaign cash is still in his account.

The FEC limits what campaign funds can be spent on. The money must be used for election purposes — for a campaign or transferred to another active committee — otherwise Walker could donate it to charity. Walker and his treasurer remain trustees of the funds and cannot transfer the money directly to Walker.

But the campaign money could be useful for the Republican Party’s bottom line.

At this point in the 2020 election cycle, the Republican Party of Georgia had $1.2 million in cash on hand. Now it reports it has less than half that amount. It is also spending a significant portion — $1.9 million since the start of 2021 — of its money on legal fees for Republicans charged in Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ election fraud case. according to the most recent financial disclosure forms.

Georgia GOP Chairman Josh McKoon, who raises money for the state party, declined to discuss personal conversations he may have had with Walker about the unspent campaign funds.

This year, Republicans are focused on the presidential race and maintaining their majority in the state Legislature, and a Georgia GOP strategist, Brian Robinson, said Walker’s money would be best used to support legislative candidates in competitive districts to help.

“I would give directly to candidates at the legislative level because we really need to fight here to keep majorities in Georgia,” he said.

A senior national Republican Party official said Republicans have not heard from Walker in months and were not aware of any party committees or campaigns currently pursuing a check from Walker’s old campaign account.

But Walker has given away some of his campaign money, but not primarily to the party.

Although Republicans grumble that Walker has contributed no money to the party, the campaign committee donated about $410,000, mostly to nonprofits such as the Horatio Alger Association, the Boys and Girls Club and Herschel’s 34 and Johnson City Class of 1980, a nonprofit organization which has been registered, according to FEC documents, since 2016 in Walker’s hometown of Wrightsville, Georgia.

He also donated $100,000 to Polaris Action Inc, a national security-focused group founded by Morgan Ortagus, a former Trump administration State Department official who supported Walker on the campaign trail.

“Nobody would be surprised if and when he starts spending that money that it goes to a group of newly formed charities in or around Dallas, Texas,” a second GOP operative from Georgia said, referring to where Walker lived before running for office the Texas Senate. Georgia.

Daniel Lippman contributed to this report.