Empty Podium Takes Walker's Place in 2nd Ga. Debate

Dem Raphael Warnock, Libertarian Chase Oliver took the stage without the GOP candidate
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 17, 2022 7:28 AM CDT
Empty Podium Takes Walker's Place in 2nd Ga. Debate
Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., speaks next to an empty podium set up for Republican challenger Herschel Walker, who was invited but didn't attend, during a US Senate debate in Atlanta on Sunday.   (AP Photo/Ben Gray)

Like Friday night's debate in Georgia, there were two Senate candidates onstage Sunday during the sequel. Unlike Friday's debate, however, one of those candidates wasn't Herschel Walker. The Hill reports that Democratic candidate Raphael Warnock, the incumbent senator, faced off against Libertarian Chase Oliver in the debate hosted in Atlanta by the Atlanta Press Club, but in Walker's place was an empty podium after he was a no-show. "I think that half of being a senator is showing up," Warnock slammed his absent opponent. "That's half of life. And I have shown up for the people of Georgia time and time again."

Warnock used the opportunity instead to come after Walker for his foe's history of domestic violence and lies, even more aggressively than he'd done Friday night, per the New York Times. "He said that he graduated from college. He didn't," Warnock said. "He said that he was valedictorian of his class. He wasn't. He said that he started a business that doesn't even exist. And the other night when I said he pretended to be a police officer, he presented a badge as if that were proof that he really is a police officer."

Warnock then added: "And now he wants us to think that he's a senator." In a statement before the debate, Walker's campaign claimed the event would be a "one-sided sham" partial to Warnock, and that Friday's debate had seen Walker dominate over Warnock. "Unfortunately for Georgia voters, tonight will not feature the fair and honest line of questioning that Georgians witnessed during Friday night's debate," the statement read, claiming it was being hosted by "Warnock's liberal friends." The presence of Oliver in the race could force a runoff, as Georgia rules require an outright majority to win an office in the state, per PBS. There will be no more Senate debates in Georgia before the election. (Read more Herschel Walker stories.)

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