Herschel Walker, the UGA football legend who is running for the Georgia GOP Senate nomination, got two big endorsements from Capitol Hill this week.  

On Monday, Walker was endorsed by U.S. Sen. John Thune of South Dakota. Thune, as Senate Whip, is the No. 2 Republican in the Senate.  

Then on Wednesday, Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell endorsed Walker’s first-ever political campaign. 

“I am happy to endorse Herschel Walker for U.S. Senate in Georgia,” McConnell said. “Herschel is the only one who can unite the party, defeat Senator Warnock, and help us take back the Senate. I look forward to working with Herschel in Washington to get the job done.”  

McConnell is the sixth U.S. senator to endorse Walker, who has also been endorsed U.S. Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Missouri); Steve Daines (R-Montana); Roger Marshall (R-Kansas), and  Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina).

Walker is seeking the chance to face Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock in November 2022. Georgia is widely seen as a battleground state that could determine the balance of power in the U.S. Senate, which is currently deadlocked between Republicans and Democrats in a 50-50 split. 

Walker has already been endorsed by former president Donald Trump, and debuted his campaign at a Trump rally in Perry earlier this year. Walker once played for Trump’s New Jersey Generals in the now-defunct USFL. 

Back in September, Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, who is also running for the GOP Senate bid, announced the endorsements of 55 state Republican lawmakers.

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.