GOP consultants hired a law firm to research Walker before his Senate run, NBC News reported.
The firm compiled a 500-page dossier on Walker, which contained problematic issues, NBC said.
Walker and his wife believed his goodwill among Georgians would blunt attacks on him, it added.
Before Herschel Walker even declared his Senate candidacy in August 2021, there were major questions regarding the viability of a campaign.
As Walker mulled over his entry into the race, he spoke with the leading GOP consultants Austin Chambers, Paul Bennecke, and Nick Ayers, who proceeded to hire a law firm to delve into the would-be candidate's background, NBC News reported Thursday.
For most campaigns, such an effort is a typical exercise; it helps gauge the kind of opposition research that could be assembled in a political campaign.
But in the span of just two weeks, the firm had compiled a 500-page dossier on Walker, which detailed issues involving his businesses, along with questionable public statements and allegations of abuse, four sources who spoke with NBC News said.
"We found 500 pages in two weeks on you and God only knows what else is out there," Chambers told Walker, said a person who overheard the two men speaking at a GOP donor's home in the posh Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta.
The three consultants didn't stay on for Walker's campaign, but the former University of Georgia football standout threw his hat into the ring despite the information that had been uncovered, some of which was already in the public realm.
Shortly before Walker announced his campaign, The Associated Press published an article that detailed accusations by his ex-wife Cindy Grossman, who in their divorce proceedings described him as having "physically abusive and threatening behavior."
Walker and his wife, Julie Blanchard Walker, weren't discouraged by the report.
Before the campaign announcement, the pair felt as though Walker's longtime status as a football icon in the Peach State and his ability to connect with people would cancel out any bad press or political attack ads that would surely be launched by the Democratic Party, said people who told NBC News they had spoken with the couple in advance of the August 2021 campaign launch.
Once Walker was officially a candidate, support among Republican primary voters, which was turbocharged by his endorsement from former President Donald Trump, quickly coalesced around him.
But this year, his campaign was rocked by several scandals.
Two women alleged that Walker, who ran on an anti-abortion platform, had paid for their abortions. The Republican denied the allegations, but in a public poll the week before the runoff, most respondents said they did not see him as a trustworthy candidate.
When it came to light that Walker had additional children that he had not disclosed to the public, his campaign was forced to respond to the developments, which put him off message as he sought to rally GOP voters.
Last month, questions swirled around the campaign regarding a homestead-tax exemption that Walker claimed in Texas in 2021 and this year, despite him running for a Senate seat in Georgia, according to a CNN KFile report.
In the November general election, Warnock edged out Walker 49.4% to 48.5% statewide, but the results triggered a runoff, as neither candidate hit the requisite 50% threshold to win the election outright.
Last week, Warnock defeated Walker in the runoff 51.4% to 48.6%.
The result made Walker the only statewide Republican candidate to lose their race in Georgia this year.
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