After Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker found himself in the midst of an abortion controversy, he made headlines again for flashing an honorary deputy sheriff’s badge onstage at a Georgia Senate debate.
Sen. Raphael Warnock, his Democratic opponent, accused the Republican of pretending to be a police officer, according to NBC News.
Now, Walker is using this squabble as fodder for his campaign: first, by flashing the badge during interviews and now, by ordering 1,000 fake badges to give out at an upcoming fundraiser event.
The honorary badge that he holds is real and was given to him by Johnson County Sheriff Greg Rowland for his community service.
“Everyone can make fun, but this badge gives me the right … if anything happened in this county, I have the right to work with the police in getting things done,” Walker said, according to The Washington Post.
“If Sen. Warnock wants to highlight this, then bring it on,” Walker’s campaign strategist, Gail Gitcho, told NBC. “It just gives us a chance to talk about Herschel’s support of law enforcement and law enforcement’s support for him. It’s a great issue for us.”
Neil Warren, a former Cobb County sheriff who named Walker an “honorary agent” in 2017, said that the Republican candidate “led trainings on leadership, advocated for mental health, encouraged countless officers and was always there to lend a hand,” in an endorsement from July 2022.
According to The New York Times, Walker has exaggerated his role: “he told soldiers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state that he was a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent,” which the Times says is “false,” and even said he worked as a law enforcement agent during multiple campaign speeches.
His campaign said that the FBI comment was a joke and that he had volunteered for the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office, which is why he was issued a badge in the first place, per NBC News.
Polls indicate that Warnock has a lead with 47.8% compared to Walker’s 44.1%, according to FiveThirtyEight.