Election 2022: Georgia U.S. Senate Runoff Candidates on the Record

By GLAAD | November 30, 2022

The runoff election for the U.S. Senate is now underway in Georgia. Early in-person voting is happening now, and Election Day is December 6, 2022. 

LGBTQ voters in Georgia provided the winning margin for pro-equality candidates in the 2020 election. The runoff election comes as the LGBTQ community is reeling from the deadly mass shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs. GLAAD is releasing both the LGBTQ record and gun safety records for candidates incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock (above, left) and challenger Herschel Walker (above, right). 

Herschel Walker (R)

  • At a rally in Carrollton, Georgia, the day after the deadly Club Q shooting in Colorado, Springs, Colorado, Walker described people who “don’t know the definition of a woman” as an “enemy,” according to Jezebel. Two of the five people who were killed at Club Q on Saturday night were transgender.
  • One day after  the horrific mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs that killed five people including a transgender woman and trans man, released an inaccurate campaign ad featuring a former college athlete complaining about transgender swimmer Lia Thomas.
  • Following the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, in May that killed 19 children and and two adults, Walker was asked by CNN whether he would support any gun violence legislation: “What I like to do is see it and everything and stuff. I like to see it,” he replied and then walked away.
  • Suggested that prayer, rather than gun safety legislation, would deter gun violence: “We’ve got to get back into prayer. People thinking now praying is bad. No, it’s not bad. We need to pray for things like that. We need to continue to go out and fight, continue to take your constitutional rights away, and I think we can’t do that.” Repeated the claim in an appearance at a Georgia church. 
  • Praised “Second Amendment restrictions” legislation on a conservative radio talk show, saying he wished it had gone further. The following day a Walker spokesperson tweeted, “Herschel was referring to the mental health aspect of the bill not going far enough. He would not have voted for the bill.”
  • His ex-wife says he “held a gun to her head a handful of times and held a straight razor to her throat” threatening to kill her.
  • Was visited by police and was “volatile,” armed and scaring his estranged wife at the suburban Dallas home they no longer shared, and discussed “having a shoot-out with police” in 2001. 
  • Campaign website promises he will fight against new gun laws and confirm “Constitutional judges to our courts who will protect our right to bear arms.” 
  • Appeared in a photo wearing a red MAGA hat and aiming a rifle in a fundraising message on Facebook on Jan. 24 which read, “I will ALWAYS stand up for the Second Amendment. No law-abiding American should EVER be denied their rights… our Constitution is NOT up for negotiation!!”
  • Attacked Warnock in a press release for Warnock’s support of a legislation to mandate universal background checks for all gun purchasers, calling Warnock “one of the leading advocates of gun control in the Senate.” 
  • Said he had played Russian roulette, saying that he had played it “more than once” before seeking mental health treatment. 
  • Lied when he claimed that he worked in law enforcement.
  • Had a 9mm Sig Sauer handgun confiscated from his car and he was placed on a “caution list” because of his “violent tendencies” in 2001. 
  • Opposed efforts “to take away the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens to self-defense.”
  • On campaign website, calls himself a “compassionate conservative who is pro-life and pro-family.” Says he would vote yes on bill proposed by Sen. Lindsey Graham to ban abortion nationwide, and supports abortion bans without any exceptions for rape, incest or the health of the mother: “There’s no exception in my mind.” Allegations surfaced in early October that Walker paid for a girlfriend’s abortion, and encouraged her to have a second abortion
  • Said of marriage equality: “Gay weddings, that’s something that you have to work with the Congress. I think that each state’s gotta determine that, that’s against stuff that I believe in, so that each state can just stop all that.”
  • Did not answer when reporters asked if he would sign onto federal protections of marriage equality, saying: “we need to worry about what’s happening right now.”
  • Questioned whether transgender youth will get into heaven: “When I get to heaven, I want the Lord to recognize me. Because I can tell you right now, they’re telling the young kids in school, you can be a boy tomorrow even if you’re a girl… I want the young kids to know, you go to heaven. Jesus may not recognize you. Because he made you a boy. He made you a girl. Why are we talking about things like that?”
  • Criticized transgender youth access to school sports; has no record of advocating for women’s and girls’ athletics. Described “women’s issues” as “grocery prices” and “gas prices.”
  • Divorce records reveal Walker’s ex-wife accused him of being physically abusive and threatening to murder her. She claims he pointed a gun at her and said, “I’m going to blow your… brains out.” In 2001, Walker’s therapist called Texas police describing Walker as armed and “volatile.” Walker reportedly talked about having a shoot-out with police. Officers confiscated his gun and put him on a “caution list” because of his “violent tendencies.”
  • Endorsed by former president Donald Trump, whose administration led more than 200 attacks in policy and rhetoric against LGBTQ Americans and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who refused to bring The Equality Act to a vote in the Senate.

Rev. Raphael Warnock (D) Incumbent

  • Helped usher in the most significant new federal gun safety legislation in 30 years, which includes “incentives for states to pass so-called red flag laws that allow groups to petition courts to remove weapons from people deemed a threat to themselves or others…[and] expands an existing law that prevents people convicted of domestic abuse from owning a gun to include dating partners rather than just spouses and former spouses,” according to NPR; Warnock sought bipartisan support for the legislation.
  • Endorsed for reelection by Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence, the organization founded by gun violence survivor Gabby Giffords, calling Warnock “a champion for gun safety in the Senate” who has supported “legislation that would close loopholes in our gun laws that allow people who have committed domestic abuse to access firearms, require background checks on all gun sales, and secure funding for community violence initiatives and gun violence research.”
  • Supported the Bipartisan Community Safety Act, saying that the compromise gun legislation included “common-sense policies supported by a majority of Georgians and Americans.”
  • Cosponsored the Assault Weapons Ban of 2021 Act and the Background Check Expansion Act.
  • Rated “F” by NRA for pushing to expand waiting periods, ban high-capacity magazines, and banning assault rifles, among other positions.
  • “Proud ally of the LGBTQ+ community” per campaign website
  • Tweeted: I’ve long been an ally of the LGBTQ+ community. There is no such thing as equal rights for some—I believe all people should be treated with dignity, respect, and humanity as we are all created in the image of God. Happy Pride Weekend Atlanta!
  • Co-sponsor of the Refund Equality Act offering same-sex couples the right to amend tax returns to file as married filing jointly for returns outside of the statute of limitations.
  • Urged passage of the Equality Act: “the fierce urgency in the voices of LGBTQ people who have waited too long for equal justice under the law demands that we act now. It’s time that the U.S. Senate joined the U.S. House of Representatives in heeding the call of Americans across the nation for our Congress to pass legislation like the Equality Act to ensure that the ideals of liberty and justice enshrined in the Constitution truly extend to every citizen.”
  • Supported LGBTQ people against religious exemption efforts and “those who will abuse the name of God to frame their perceived right to discriminate. They present a false choice between religious freedom and LGBTQ people. Here’s what I know from over 20 years as a Baptist pastor –– while faith at its best can heal and bring us closer together, too often, I have witnessed it used to justify injustice against women, minorities, and especially LGBTQ people.”
  • Stated in interview with ProjectQ Atlanta: “Transgender women of color deserve equal justice under the law and federal protections for their health and livelihoods.”
  • Promised to “work to make prescription drugs, including PrEP, accessible and affordable and support increased funding for HIV and AIDS prevention, treatment and research.”
  • Urged expansion of voting rights protections, called for filibuster reform to pass voting rights, and criticized voter suppression bills.
  • Voted to impeach Pres. Trump for his role in the deadly insurrection on January 6th, stating: “If Donald Trump’s actions were not impeachable, then nothing is. My vote today reflects that deeply-held conviction. We witnessed firsthand a vile attempt to disenfranchise millions of voters, and an egregious interruption of the peaceful transfer of power by the President of the United States. Accountability is critical to our nation moving forward and addressing the challenges so many families and communities face. And as a voice for the people of Georgia in the Senate, I take seriously my duty to defend our Constitution and uphold the values of our democracy.”
  • Tweets 6/1/2022: Happy #Pride Month, Georgia! As we reflect on how far we have come, let’s remember how far we have to go to create a world where we *all* feel safe to be our authentic selves.  Every human being has inherent dignity, and I’ll always be an ally of the LGBTQIA+ community.
  • Tweets 3/27/2022: As a pastor, I deeply believe in the sacred worth of all human beings, which is why I’ll always fight to protect the dignity and worth of our trans loved ones. #ProtectTransKids
  • Tweets 2/26/2021: Wonderful to see the Equality Act pass the House and I hope we can see bipartisan support for this long overdue legislation in the Senate. It’s past time to protect our LGBTQ brothers and sisters.

To check on your registration status and to find your polling place, go to GLAAD.org/vote.