ATLANTA — Since former University of Georgia and NFL star Herschel Walker announced he will run for a Georgia U.S. Senate seat, some people are questioning whether he can legally run.
The Constitution sets three qualifications for service in the U.S. Senate: a candidate must:
- Be at least 30 years old;
- be a U.S. citizen for at least nine years;
- and live in the state they represent at the time of election.
Walker has lived in Texas since 2011 and has claimed a homestead tax exemption on his home there, stating that it's his primary residence.
One of the 15 rules used in Georgia law to determine where a voter lives for residency purposes is where they claim a homestead exemption, according to the Associated Press.
On Aug. 17, Walker used an Atlanta address to register to vote in Georgia. It's the same address he used to file campaign papers with the Federal Election Commission.
According to the Fulton County Board of Assessors website, the home address he used is 999 Mount Paran Road NW, which is owned by his wife, Julie M. Blanchard.
Blanchard and Walker were married in Texas in May, according to public records.
AP reports that the Secretary of State’s office opened an investigation on Aug 10 into the residency of Walker’s wife. That came after a newspaper reported that records show she voted in Georgia, despite living in Texas.
Blanchard does not currently claim a homestead exemption on her Fulton County property. Walker's name is not on the current tax bill, according to AP.
Question: Can Herschel Walker run for Georgia office while living in Texas?
Answer: Yes. Under the U.S. Constitution, the candidate only has to live in Georgia at the time of his election, but he doesn't have to live in Georgia while he campaigns.
Walker plans to run for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate next year. He intends to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock in next year’s race.
Several other Georgia Republicans also say they plan to run, including state Secretary of Agriculture Gary Black.