Now that a man who openly bragged about sexually forcing himself on women has tightened his grip on the Republican Party, violent and abusive behavior has become standard fare for Republican candidates who, in some cases, hold the fate of the party’s future in their hands.
Former football star Herschel Walker, who this week secured the support of the GOP establishment for his Georgia Senate bid, is chief among them. Walker, who publicly disclosed struggling with multiple personalities, has left a trail of women alleging that he violently threatened them. Walker’s ex-wife, who was granted a protective order against him in 2005, told ABC News in 2008 that Walker pointed a pistol at her head and said, “I’m going to blow your fucking brains out.” Similarly, ex-girlfriend Myka Dean told police in 2012 that Walker threatened to “blow her head off” after she tried to end their relationship.
As Walker’s GOP primary opponent Gary Black said in a statement: “Herschel has threatened women, choked them, stalked them. ... He has put knives to their throats and guns to their heads, and he claims that he must be innocent because he never went to jail.”
But in what once would have been a shocking turn, Walker is no exception to the GOP rule. Instead, he is now a run-of-the-mill Republican candidate. As the Washington Post notes, the GOP slate is riddled with men who have unseemly and sometimes damning biographies.
Sean Parnell, an Army vet and Trump endorsee, is running for the open Senate seat in Pennsylvania. According to the Post, Parnell is in the middle of a contentious divorce from his wife, who once called 911 during an argument with him and “filed two protection-from-abuse orders” against him. Parnell and his wife are presently engaged in a bitter custody battle over their three children, and Parnell could conceivably be stripped of custody amid his Senate bid. Parnell also sought to bottle up his history with a gag order, but a judge recently denied the bulk of his request.
Eric Greitens, who is running for Missouri’s open Senate seat (likely a lock for Republicans), became the state’s former disgraced governor in 2018 when he resigned over a salacious sex scandal involving a woman who said he tied her up and then blackmailed her into staying quiet by threatening to make a nude photo of her public. Trump has not endorsed a favorite in the race yet, but Greitens has more name recognition than any other GOP candidate.
“The Republican establishment doesn’t want Greitens to win the nomination,” writes the Post. But come on, they’ve already cleared the Georgia field for Herschel Walker. It’s not like Greitens is the difference between shame and glory at this point.
Josh Mandel, former state treasurer of Ohio, is in a bruising fight to be the GOP’s Senate nominee. His campaign has also admitted that he’s dating a campaign subordinate who serves as his finance director. According to the Columbus Dispatch, their relationship has fomented internal conflict in the campaign, with several fundraisers quitting this summer over what they called a toxic and abusive work environment.