The national Republican Party apparatus is standing behind its U.S. Senate candidate in Georgia, Herschel Walker, following a report in the Daily Beast that alleges he paid for a girlfriend's abortion in 2009.
Walker, a vocal abortion opponent, called the report a "flat-out" lie in a statement posted on Twitter.
"I never asked anyone to get an abortion," Walker told Fox News shortly after the story broke Monday night. "I never paid for an abortion. And it's a lie. And I'm going to continue to fight. They want this seat. Right now, they've energized me even more."
NPR has not independently confirmed the account.
The Daily Beast granted the woman anonymity to protect her privacy. The report says she provided a copy of a check from Walker, a receipt from an abortion clinic and a get-well card he allegedly signed. Walker told Fox News he sends money and get-well cards to a lot of people.
Georgia is one of the GOP's top prospects to pick up a seat in the Senate.
"When the Democrats are losing, as they are right now, they lie and cheat and smear their opponents," Sen. Rick Scott, chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, wrote in a statement. "Herschel has denied these allegations and the NRSC and Republicans stand with him, and Georgians will stand with him too."
Former President Donald Trump, who has endorsed Walker, issued a statement saying he does not doubt Walker's denial of the story. "With all that Herschel has accomplished, when you come from Georgia, and you see the name Herschel Walker when voting, it will be very hard to resist," Trump wrote. "Don't!"
Walker, a vocal abortion opponent, supports a federal ban on the procedure
In May, WABE asked Walker to describe his stance on abortion.
"There's no exception in my mind. Like I said, I believe in life," Walker said.
Abortion has played a prominent role in the Georgia midterms since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. In 2019, Georgia's Republican governor, Brian Kemp, who's up for reelection this fall, signed a law banning most abortions after about six weeks with few exceptions. The law just took effect this summer, following the Supreme Court's ruling.
But Walker has gone even further, pledging to support a national abortion ban.
At a Rosh Hashanah campaign event on Monday, Walker's Democratic opponent, Sen. Raphael Warnock, reaffirmed his support for abortion rights.
Walker, a onetime University of Georgia football star, is a legend in Georgia, and he sailed to victory in Georgia's May primary. But a few weeks out from Election Day, Walker is trailing Warnock in most polls.
Walker has a history of misleading or false statements. He has exaggerated his academic, business and philanthropic records. Since he launched his campaign, several additional children he did not disclose to the public or, reportedly to his campaign, have come to light.
Walker's son, who regularly shares his conservative viewpoints on social media and has not openly criticized his father's campaign in the past, tweeted "I'm done," along with a thread of messages detailing his father's allegedly destructive behavior toward his family.
"I don't care about someone who has a bad past and takes accountability," Christian Walker wrote. "But how DARE YOU LIE and act as though you're some "moral, Christian, upright man." You've lived a life of DESTROYING other people's lives. How dare you."
Walker has spoken about accusations of domestic violence against his ex-wife, citing mental illness, saying he is better now and that the two remain friends. Opposition ads featuring Walker's ex-wife talking in an interview about how he held a gun to her head and threatened to kill her have blanketed Georgia's airwaves for weeks.
"A month ago, I thought Walker was a sure thing," conservative radio host Erick Erickson wrote in his newsletter Tuesday. "Now, I think he is less likely to win unless he mounts an immediate response. Georgia is not a deeply red state, and even Alabama elected Doug Jones instead of Roy Moore." In 2017, Alabama elected Democrat Doug Jones over Republican Roy Moore, who had been accused of sexual misconduct.
While Walker quickly consolidated support with base Republican voters in the primary, some independent-minded suburban voters who will vote Republican for governor and other races say they will vote for Warnock, the libertarian candidate or leave the Senate race blank.
"It troubles me a little bit, some of the allegations against Herschel Walker," Republican Greg Minert said last month. "So if it's true, it could change my mind."
Last cycle, Democratic victories in Georgia's Senate races determined control of the U.S. Senate, so the outcome of this election could also have national implications.