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GA Primaries: High-Stakes Showdown     05/24 06:12

   

   ATLANTA (AP) -- Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel 
Walker have six challengers between them in Tuesday's primaries, but the two 
are already looking ahead to the general election as the GOP tries to take back 
the seat Warnock won last year, helping Democrats squeak out a congressional 
majority.

   Republicans looking to regain control of the Senate have targeted the 
Georgia race, with former President Donald Trump throwing his heft behind 
Walker, a former college football celebrity with huge name recognition. Five 
candidates hope to get Walker below the 50% mark needed to avoid a runoff, 
however.

   On the Democratic side, Warnock is looking to defend the seat he narrowly 
won in a special election in 2021. He has one opponent in the primary -- beauty 
industry professional Tamara Johnson-Shealey -- but she has shown few signs of 
posing a serious threat to him.

   A general election matchup between Warnock and Walker would mark the first 
time that two major party candidates for U.S. Senate in Georgia were Black.

   Warnock is the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where the late 
Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once preached. He became the first Black senator 
elected from Georgia when he defeated appointed Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler 
in 2021 weeks after Democrats won the state's presidential election for the 
first time since 1992.

   As a senator, Warnock has derided Republicans' push for tighter voting 
rules, calling them "Jim Crow in new clothes;" stressed his work in bringing 
home funding for health care, national security research and other projects; 
and highlighted his efforts to try to cap the cost of insulin and temporarily 
suspend the federal gasoline tax.

   Johnson-Shealey owned a salon and founded two professional organizations for 
the beauty and barber industry, according to her campaign website. Her platform 
calls for reparations for slavery, Medicare for all and a pathway to 
citizenship for people in the country illegally.

   On the Republican side, Walker -- a political newcomer -- has nearly 
unmatched name recognition in Georgia from his days as a college football 
running back. He led the University of Georgia football team to a national 
title during the 1980 season and won the Heisman Trophy in 1982. He counts 
Trump as a close friend.

   But some of his Republican opponents have questioned his electability. 
Walker has a history of violence against women and has made multiple gaffes on 
the campaign trail. He also skipped the primary debates. He has been open about 
his long struggle with mental illness and acknowledged violent urges.

   Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black has made the sharpest attacks on 
Walker, saying he can't win in November because of domestic violence 
allegations and other past problems. Former Trump administration official and 
Navy veteran Latham Saddler has questioned Walker's preparation for a potential 
debate with Warnock.

   The other GOP primary candidates are: retired brigadier general Jon 
McColumn; contractor and Air Force veteran Kelvin King and former state Rep. 
Josh Clark.

 
 
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