Former Georgia-great Herschel Walker is giving a big assist to one of his home-state politicians.
The bruising running back who won a national championship for the Bulldogs in the 1980 season has publicly endorsed U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Savannah) in the race for the state’s vacant Senate seat. He has been involved in political ads and YouTube videos supporting the candidate since May.
Kingston will face businessman David Perdue in a July 22 vote to decide which Republican candidate will face Democratic candidate Michelle Nunn in the November general election.
The hand-in-hand nature of sports stars and political figures is common in the Southeast, where many athletes are idolized and well-regarded. When Walker opened up a restaurant last year in Athens, the city which houses the University of Georgia, fans lined up for a block to shake his hand and take a picture with him. That kind of name-recognition is incredibly important for a political campaign and is certainly a nice addition, even if it might not make the difference in the race.
The pair first met at the bi-annual Congressional Football Game for Charity between Georgia celebrities and the men who work on Georgia’s Capitol Hill. There is even a picture of the two next to each other, though Kingston will need to certainly add some bulk if he wants to compare to Walker’s still freakishly-athletic frame.
When Kingston decided to leave behind his House of Representatives seat in order to pursue the Senate office vacated by longtime politician Saxby Chambliss, he knew he needed to add some star power to his list of endorsements.
As a 1978 Georgia grad himself, Kingston immediately thought of Walker.
The famed running back has stayed in the limelight in recent years, despite his college days ending in 1982 and a mixed-success NFL career. He accumulated 5,259 yards and 49 touchdowns in college, but a rash of injuries and a stint in the now-defunct United States Football League led to him playing 13 up-and-down years of NFL football, despite his vast potential.
Overall, he had 13,787 yards and 115 touchdowns in 17 years as a professional football player.
Walker made national news for training to become a Mixed Martial Arts fighter at the age of 50 – most believed he could compete, simply because he was that dominating from a physical standpoint. His business ventures, including the namesake restaurant in Athens, have also kept him busy.
Though the former player hadn’t taken a foray into the political arena in the past, Walker was willing to do so for Kingston. That has led the Savannah congressman to repeatedly mention Walker’s name to voters, which usually elicits cheers from the pro-Georgia crowd.