Herschel Junior Walker, a former football running back, was the Republican nominee in the 2022 United States Senate election in Georgia. Walker was born on March 3, 1962, to Willis and Christine Walker in Wrightsville, Georgia. Walker attended Johnson County High School in Wrightsville. While there he played for the school’s football, basketball, and track teams. During his senior year, Walker rushed for 3,167 yards and helped the team win its first state championship.
After graduating from high school, Walker attended the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia, where he played for the Georgia Bulldogs football team. During his first year, Walker set the NCAA freshman record and finished third in Heisman voting. The Georgia Bulldogs beat Notre Dame in the 1981 Sugar Bowl that same year. During his junior year, Walker would win the Heisman Trophy.
In 1983, Walker signed with the United States Football League team, the New Jersey Generals. The Generals were then owned by Oklahoma oil tycoon J. Walter Duncan but later sold to businessman and future President Donald Trump. Walker remained with the New Jersey Generals until 1985.
In the 1985 NFL Draft, the Dallas (Texas) Cowboys chose Walker in the fifth round. While playing with the Cowboys, Walker was selected to play in the pro bowl twice, in 1987 and 1988. Walker remained with the Cowboys until he was traded to Minnesota Vikings in 1989. Walker’s trade from the Cowboys to the Vikings became known as the Herschel Walker trade and would become one of the most significant player trades in NFL history by allowing the Cowboys to draft future NFL Hall of Fame player Emmitt Smith who contributing to the success of the Cowboys in winning three Super Bowls in the 1990s.
Walker would also play for other NFL teams, including the Philadelphia (Pennsylvania) Eagles, New York Giants, and a second stint with the Cowboys before retiring after the 1997 NFL Season for a total of twelve years in the league.
After returning from football, Walker worked as a businessman but was eventually lured into politics. He joined the Republican Party and supported Donald Trump’s 2016 and 2020 Presidential campaigns. In 2018 Trump appointed Walker to the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition and reappointed him to another two year-term in 2020, He was removed from the position in 2022 by President Joseph Biden.
In 2022, Walker ran for United State Senate in Georgia against Democratic candidate Raphael Warnock. During the November 2022 election, Walker received 48.5% of the vote, while Warnock received 49.4%, which led to the December 6, 2022, runoff election. Warnock won the runoff election, and Walker conceded in defeat.
Walker was one time married to Cindy DeAngelis Grossman in 1983. The couple had one child together, Christian Walker, before divorcing in 2002. Walker remarried in 2021 to Julie Blanched. During his 2022 Senate campaign in Georgia, it was revealed that Walker had two additional sons and a daughter from previous relationships.