Former President Donald Trump is already wading into next year’s Senate races, making two big moves this past week that could change the nature of the midterm election.
First, he made a key early endorsement in what’s expected to be one of the most closely contested Senate races.
And second, he put Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on notice that the body could have a very different set of leaders if the GOP retakes control.
One BIG vaccine fact you need to know [Sponsored]
In Georgia, Trump endorsed college football great Herschel Walker to run against Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga.
“I think he’d win. I think it would be very, very hard to beat Herschel,” Trump said on the “The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show,” according to Politico. “They have the ballads, they made ballads to Herschel. They still sing them all the time. So I think beating him would be very tough. And I think he’s going to run.”
He’s referring, of course, to Walker’s storied career on the University of Georgia football team. Widely considered the greatest college football player of all time, Walker helped the Bulldogs win their most recent national championship – in 1980 – and took home the Heisman Trophy in 1982.
His heroics led to him being enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame, and he played for more than a decade in the NFL.
Walker has not yet committed to running.
“Georgia is my home – I love Georgia, and I love this country,” Walker said in a statement to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “And I believe we need fighters to step forward and help save both. Know this much: If I run, I’ll be all-in, and we will do whatever it takes to win for Georgia.”
Doctor: Our response to the coronavirus is wrong [Sponsored]
Trump was more certain.
“He told me he’s going to, and I think he will,” Trump said in the radio interview. “I had dinner with him a week ago. He’s a great guy. He’s a patriot. He’s a very loyal person.”
And earlier this year, Trump said it would be “fantastic” if Walker ran for the seat.
“He would be unstoppable, just like he was when he played for the Georgia Bulldogs, and in the NFL,” he said in a statement in March. “He is also a GREAT person. Run Herschel, run!”
There is one catch to a possible Walker candidacy.
While Walker is from Georgia and played for the Georgia Bulldogs, he currently lives in Texas.
He would need to move back to Georgia and reestablish residency there to run against Warnock, who defeated incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R, during January’s infamous run-off election, winning by 2 percentage points, or 93,550.
Sponsored: #1 Food For Increased Energy?
Trump is expected to endorse several candidates in both the House and the Senate as the GOP aims to retake control of Congress.
If the Senate flips on the strength of Trump’s endorsements, he could influence its leadership – just as he’s already flexed his muscle in the House, where Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., lost her role in leadership for her constant attacks on Trump and was replaced by Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., a close Trump ally.
Trump has made no secret of his displeasure with McConnell, and this week came right out and said it’s time for him to go.
“You need better leadership at the Senate level,” he told Sean Hannity in a Fox News interview on Wednesday. “You need someone better than Mitch McConnell. Mitch McConnell can no longer do the job.”
The Associated Press contributed to this article