Or will Gary Black, Kelvin King and Latham Saddler gang-tackle Walker?

Walker has given them plenty to work with. For starters, he has spent much of the past decade as a Texan, only making a formal return to Georgia less than two weeks ago when he registered to vote.

Black is already casting Walker as a carpetbagger who should have moved back to the state much sooner to “learn what Georgians have on their minds.”

Walker also has a history of questionable business practices; violent threats against his ex-wife that prompted a judge to issue a protective order; struggles with mental health; and even games of Russian roulette.

Some of those revelations came from media reports, others from Walker’s own book, “Breaking Free.”

There’s also a matter of how Walker will take to life as a candidate. His stances on major policies are largely unknown, as is his ability to court grassroots voters and donors. He’s skipped key political events that prospective contenders in Georgia are expected to attend. But he did play football well.

If Black, King and Saddler succeed in injuring Walker’s candidacy, who would be the beneficiary?

Black, the state’s agriculture commissioner, is the best-known of the three, having built strong ties in the rural areas that power Georgia’s Republican Party. He also has nabbed endorsements from former Gov. Nathan Deal and 75 of the state’s 159 county sheriffs, including a few Democrats.

Saddler, a former Navy SEAL who was a national security official in the Trump administration, has been an effective fundraiser — last month, he reported pulling in more than $1.4 million after just 10 or so weeks on the campaign trail.

King, another military veteran and the owner of a metro Atlanta construction company, was one of Trump’s top Black surrogates during the 2020 campaign.

U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler, had considered entering the race, but he made it clear that decision hinged on what Walker would do. The day after Walker announced his candidacy, Carter endorsed him.

But another player could come in from the sidelines.

Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell has privately encouraged former U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler to consider making another run at Warnock after losing to him in a January runoff. (McConnell also urged former U.S. Sen. David Perdue to run, but that seed did not take.)

For now, Loeffler will probably remain a spectator, waiting to see whether Walker stumbles. If that happens and the other Republicans fail to capitalize on it, she could make a move by qualifying just before the March deadline.

Caption

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux and nine other moderates achived a compromise with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over the $3.5 trillion social services spending plan now in the works in Congress. But Bourdeaux is now facing heat from liberals back in her Gwinnett County-based district for threatening to stand in the way of the legislation. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/TNS)

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux and nine other moderate Democrats reached a compromise with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that allowed a $3.5 trillion social services package to advance.

But Bourdeaux may find liberals back in her Gwinnett County-based district not so agreeable.

The moderates had threatened to derail the social services legislation — which would fund a number of Democratic priorities such as universal pre-kindergarten and tuition-free community college — unless Pelosi abandoned her plan to delay a vote on an infrastructure package until the $3.5 trillion measure won passage in the U.S. Senate.

Pelosi had formulated that plan with the aim of placating the liberal wing of her narrow majority, which had feared that support behind the social services package would lose steam.

The $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill — which would build or repair roads, bridges and mass transit — has already won the Senate’s approval with the support of all 50 members of the Democratic caucus and 19 Republicans.

The compromise Pelosi reached with Bourdeaux and other moderates set up a House vote on the infrastructure bill for no later than Sept. 27.

“We got about an iron-clad agreement as you can get to get the bipartisan bill through starting on Sept. 27, and that was in large part the overall aim,” Bourdeaux said.

The moderates then allowed the social services spending bill to proceed with a process called budget reconciliation that permits Democrats to bypass filibuster rules in the Senate, meaning it could become law without a single GOP vote.

While the moderates eventually made peace with their speaker, Bourdeaux drew harsh words back in Georgia before the compromise was sealed.

“Now that the budget is up for a vote, Rep. Bordeaux is betraying Georgia’s working families by opposing the package and aligning herself with insurrectionists,” Charlie Flemming, president of the Georgia AFL-CIO, said in a statement. “We urge Rep. Bordeaux to change her stance and stand with working families by supporting the President’s Budget.”

Fleming’s statement also pointed out how much support his organization gave Bourdeaux during her last campaign, when she flipped the 7th Congressional District by a narrow margin. The union made roughly 600,000 calls to nearly 200,000 residents in the district, the statement noted in a way that indicated maybe the phone bank sits idle next time when Bourdeaux will likely face another tight contest.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., looks at a poster of John Lewis during a news conference after the House of Representatives approved the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. The legislation now heads to the U.S. Senate, where a Republican filibuster could block its passage. (AP Photo/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades)Caption

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., looks at a poster of John Lewis during a news conference after the House of Representatives approved the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. The legislation now heads to the U.S. Senate, where a Republican filibuster could block its passage. (AP Photo/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades)

Credit: Amanda Andrade-Rhoades

Credit: Amanda Andrade-Rhoades

The deal that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reached with moderates on social services spending also allowed the chamber’s passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, named after the Georgia congressman and civil rights icon who died last year.

The House approved the voting bill on a party-line split, with Democrats in favor and Republicans opposed. It now heads to the U.S. Senate, where Republicans are likely to use the filibuster to block passage.

The bill would reinstate federal review of changes to election laws in certain states and jurisdictions, a process known as preclearance that had been a key provision in the 1965 Voting Rights Act before the U.S. Supreme Court struck it down in a 2013 ruling.

It would also create new standards for determining whether a state or local election law dilutes the power of certain voters or makes it tougher for them to cast votes.

U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler, said Lewis was his friend and deserving of an honor. But he said this bill was the wrong way to do that, calling it an “unprecedented federal power grab over state-administered elections under the guise of updating the Voting Rights Act.”

Several Democrats cited Georgia’s new elections law, Senate Bill 202, as a reason why preclearance is needed.

“Today we do our part; we stand up for the right to vote,” said U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Marietta. “Freedoms this nation was founded upon, and freedoms which must long endure.”

08/23/2021 — Atlanta, Georgia — Helen Butler, executive director of the Georgia Coalition for the People's Agenda, speaks at a gathering of voting rights groups who oppose a State Election Board performance review of Fulton County's elections. Once the review is complete, the board could appoint a temporary superintendent with authority over vote counting, polling places and staffing. The voting rights groups said that would be a Caption

08/23/2021 — Atlanta, Georgia — Helen Butler, executive director of the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda, speaks at a gathering of voting rights groups who oppose a State Election Board performance review of Fulton County’s elections. Once the review is complete, the board could appoint a temporary superintendent with authority over vote counting, polling places and staffing. The voting rights groups said that would be a “hostile takeover.” (Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Voting rights groups, calling a state performance review a “hostile takeover” of Fulton County’s elections, pledged this past week to take legal action and raise money to oppose replacement of the county’s elections board.

The groups include the New Georgia Project, Fair Fight Action, the NAACP and Common Cause Georgia.

The State Election Board earlier this month appointed a performance review panel to investigate problems in Fulton, the state’s most populous county and one that backed Democrat Joe Biden over Republican Donald Trump with 73% of the vote.

Long lines, undelivered absentee ballots and conspiracy theories were among the problems that plagued the county’s elections in 2020, but the voting organizations say the county is being scapegoated by Georgia’s Republican majority.

Under the new voting law that the Republican-controlled General Assembly approved this spring, once a performance review is completed, the State Election Board has the power to install a temporary superintendent with authority over vote counting, polling places and staffing.

Hillary Holley, organizing director for Fair Fight Action, said that provision of the new law, Senate Bill 202, “made it harder for counties to do this job.”

“Rather than finding ways to offer them additional resources, they are now intimidating them, threatening to take it over,” Holley said.

Objections raised by the groups include the makeup of the review panel, three white men — two Republicans and a Democrat — who will investigate problems in a county that’s 62% nonwhite.

Brian Robinson, a Republican consultant, said the voting rights groups should support efforts to fix Fulton’s problems with long waits to vote and undelivered absentee ballots.

“All of the things that Democrats cite as voter suppression, the worst offender is Fulton County. So why in the heck do they have the problem with fixing the issues that they call voter suppression?” Robinson said.

The U.S. House Select Committee on Jan. 6 seeking all documents and communications that the White House sent to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, as well as Gov. Brian Kemp, between Nov. 3 and Jan. 20 that referred to the November presidential election or its results. (Bob Andres/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)Caption

The U.S. House Select Committee on Jan. 6 seeking all documents and communications that the White House sent to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, as well as Gov. Brian Kemp, between Nov. 3 and Jan. 20 that referred to the November presidential election or its results. (Bob Andres/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

Credit: Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Credit: Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

What did the White House tell Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in the days that fell between November’s election and Joe Biden’s inauguration?

That’s what the U.S. House Select Committee on Jan. 6 wants to know.

The committee has asked the National Archives to provide all documents and communications that were sent to Kemp or Raffensperger between Nov. 3 and Jan. 20 that referred to the election or its results.

The record request, which was submitted to several federal agencies, suggests that the panel’s investigation is expanding beyond just the events leading up to the Capitol riot to include the planning and execution of “Stop the Steal” protests in Washington and then-President Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the general election.

“Our Constitution provides for a peaceful transfer of power, and this investigation seeks to evaluate threats to that process, identify lessons learned and recommend laws, policies, procedures, rules, or regulations necessary to protect our republic in the future,” Democratic U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the chairman of the committee, said in a news release.

The Stone Mountain Memorial Association adopted a new logo that no longer includes a depiction of the carving on the mountain's north face of Confederate leaders Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee. SPECIAL PHOTOCaption

The Stone Mountain Memorial Association adopted a new logo that no longer includes a depiction of the carving on the mountain’s north face of Confederate leaders Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee. SPECIAL PHOTO

It was a symbolic gesture — changing a logo always is — but it still marked a break from what’s carved in rock when the Stone Mountain Memorial Association voted this week to adopt a new emblem.

Gone is any reference to the park’s massive carving of Confederate leaders Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee, replaced by a wider view of the mountain.

More concrete changes will take additional time as the park’s leaders move to soften its reputation as a bastion for Confederate sympathy.

The memorial association, the state agency that runs the park, is still assembling a committee to create an on-site museum exhibit that officials say will tell the true story of Stone Mountain, the carving and ties to the Jim Crow era, the Ku Klux Klan, and “massive resistance” to federally mandated school integration.

The carving was first proposed in 1915, and the second Ku Klux Klan was born on Stone Mountain the same year.

The board has also approved relocating several Confederate flags that have long flown at the base of the mountain’s walk-up trail, the most heavily trafficked area of the park.

Officials have said Georgia laws protecting Confederate monuments prevent the removal of the flags altogether, so they plan to move them to a new plaza in “Valor Park,” a small area that already features other tributes to the Civil War South.

Bill Stephens, the memorial association’s CEO, said he’s gathering proposals from contractors for the relocation.

The memorial association’s plans fall between two entrenched lines in a battle that has persisted for years over the park’s future.

The Atlanta NAACP, DeKalb County NAACP and the Stone Mountain Action Coalition have said the plans — which are largely driven by financial pressures — don’t go nearly far enough.

Others groups, such as the Sons of Confederate Veterans, say the park should strengthen its links to the Confederacy and have even pitched a plan to make Stone Mountain a destination for “heritage tourism.”

That appears to be a no-go, but the memorial association is seeking a new private business partner.

Silver Dollar City/Stone Mountain Park, a subsidiary of Norcross-based Herschend Family Entertainment, has run attractions at the park since the late 1990s. But the firm is pulling out next summer, citing “protests and division” among its reasons.

The memorial association last month issued a request for proposals from businesses interested in taking over those operations. Final bids are due Sept. 8.