Voting, Residency Issues Plague GOP in Messy #GASEN Primary

August 18, 2021

As the bitter Republican infighting continues, candidates in Georgia’s GOP Senate primary are facing criticism of their voting histories. In late July, the Washington Examiner reported that Herschel Walker — Trump’s handpicked candidate for Georgia’s U.S. Senate seat — didn’t actually vote in 2016. Last week, a new report revealed that Walker’s wife voted in Georgia’s presidential election last fall, even though the couple lives in Texas and claims a lucrative homestead tax exemption on their primary residence. And today, the AJC broke the news that GOP candidate Latham Saddler — a self-proclaimed “authentic conservative” and “lifelong Republican” — was originally a registered Democrat and voted in the 2004 Democratic presidential primary. 

Georgia Senate GOP contender has past Democratic voting record

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Greg Bluestein, 8/18/21

  • Senate Republican candidate Latham Saddler cast a ballot in a Democratic primary when he was in college, according to voting records.
  • Election documents show that Saddler, a former Navy SEAL and Trump administration official, registered to vote as a Democrat in 2001 in Charlotte, N.C. as a teenager. State records show he voted in the Democratic presidential primary in 2004 while a student at the University of Georgia.
  • Saddler, who has labeled himself the authentic conservative in the race against U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, acknowledged voting Democratic once as a young man.
  • Nor is Saddler the only potential rival to Warnock whose voting record is under scrutiny. Herschel Walker, who is considering a run, didn’t cast a vote in the 2016 election despite promoting Donald Trump, and had skipped other elections dating back nearly two decades until last year’s vote.
  • Though records show Saddler cast a ballot in the 2004 Democratic presidential primary, when Republican George W. Bush was up for a second term, he voted months later in the GOP primary for statewide and local contests.

Trump booster Herschel Walker skipped voting in 2016 when future president was on the ballot, records show

Washington Examiner, David Drucker, 7/28/21

  • Herschel Walker did not cast a presidential vote in 2016 despite talking up the eventual winner, Donald Trump. And with the exception of 2020, Walker has not pulled the lever in any election since at least 2003, according to records reviewed by the Washington Examiner.
  • Trump, who left office in January after one term, is pushing Walker to challenge Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock in Georgia in 2022.
  • But other than voting last November in Tarrant County, Texas, where the Republican has lived for several years, voting records there and in Dallas County, Texas, where Walker resided previously, show no evidence of participation in any election over nearly two decades.
  • Meanwhile, Walker has publicly criticized people who do not vote but complain about the government. “I’m tired of listening to people saying, ‘Well, I didn’t vote’ — well, if you didn’t vote, how can you have an opinion?” 
  • If the Republican decides to run, he must move his full-time residence to Georgia to be an eligible Senate candidate and submit his extensive business holdings to public scrutiny via federally mandated financial disclosures. Because Walker has the strong support of the former president, other high-profile Republicans who might run are in a wait-and-see mode, uninterested in running against a Trump-endorsed candidate in the GOP primary.
  • Should Walker pull the trigger, a Republican competitor might attack him from the right by raising his sparse voting history or pointing out that he said nice things about Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton on the eve of the 2016 election.

Walker’s wife voted in Georgia as couple lives in Texas, records show

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Mark Niesse, 8/10/21

  • Potential Republican U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker and his wife live in Texas, but she voted in Georgia’s election for president last fall.
  • The absentee ballot cast by Julie Blanchard raises questions about whether she was allowed to vote in Georgia while living in Texas. It’s illegal for non-residents to vote in Georgia in most circumstances.
  • Walker has called for prosecutions of voter fraud, even though there’s no evidence of rampant abuse. And he’s promoted other false claims of voting irregularities by former President Donald Trump, who has encouraged him to enter the race.
  • “Play by the rules…..the American people demand ONLY LEGAL BALLOTS be counted. Anyone manipulating this election should be prosecuted,” Walker wrote on Twitter in November.
  • “If we’re residents in both places, is that legally wrong?” Blanchard said when reached by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday. “If you have multiple homes, you can’t vote where you have a home?”
  • Blanchard and Walker purchased their Texas property in 2011 and receive a homestead exemption on their property taxes, according to public records. Homestead exemptions are granted to homeowners for their legal residence. Blanchard didn’t claim a homestead exemption on her Fulton County property last year.

Read more on Republicans’ #GASEN headache here.


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