It may come as no surprise to learn that the recent midterm elections broke the record for being the longest and costliest, with a revised advertising estimate of $9 billion. In Georgia, Senator Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker’s combined ad spending topped $200 million, making it the costliest 2022 Senate race, according to a report from Forbes.
With a runoff election approaching on December 6 and early voting beginning on Monday, Kantar/CMAG expects an additional $125 million of spending by Warnock and Walker. As Forbes reports, one outlet, Atlanta’s local ABC TV affiliate, has already booked more than $4 million in ad commitments. With all this money going toward each candidate’s election dream, you would think neither one would risk an unforced error simply to pocket $1,500.
Apparently, one candidate would, and if you know anything about either candidate, then you know which one. Walker is running to be a U.S. Senator from Georgia, yet he is claiming a tax break for maintaining his primary residence in Texas. Walker has taken the break, known as the “homestead tax exemption,” on his $3 million Dallas-area residence since 2020, according to reporting from CNN.
Texas law allows homeowners to benefit from this exemption if they don’t establish a principal residence elsewhere, are away for less than two years, and intend to return home. The U.S. Constitution requires Senate candidates to reside in the state relating to their office, and Georgia has its own candidate residency rules. Although it’s arguable whether Walker’s exemption is legal, there’s no question his decision is a political liability. Politics is very much about optics, and claiming this exemption helps voters see Walker as an unabashed carpetbagger.
Whether his action is the product of petty greed, stubborn ignorance, foolhardy arrogance, or all of the above, Walker bought Warnock and the Democrats an early Christmas gift: valuable material to include in the millions of dollars of planned advertising just as early voting begins. Yet again, Walker has proven he has no business representing Georgians in the United States Senate.