Herschel Walker, who runs in Georgia, gets tax breaks for Texas residents

ATLANTA — Herschel Walker, the Republican nominee for the Georgia Senate, is getting a tax exemption on his Texas home intended for major residents of the state, though he currently resides in Georgia and is running for office.

Public tax records, first reported by CNN, show Walker will receive a homestead tax exemption of about $1,500 this year for his Dallas-area home, which he has listed as his primary residence. According to an official with the Tarrant County Tax Estimate Bureau, where Walker’s home is located, he has received the tax break for his home since 2012.

Under the Constitution, Senate candidates are not required to reside in the state they represent until after they are elected. In Georgia, candidates must meet a handful of conditions to establish state residency before submitting their applications for office. Walker’s Texas tax exemption suggests his primary residence remains outside of Georgia.

A spokesman for Walker’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

According to the Texas Comptroller, Walker’s use of the running tax exemption is legal in Georgia. The Comptroller’s website states that you can still get the tax credit after you’ve temporarily moved away from the home if “you do not establish another primary residence, intend to return to the home and you have been away for less than two years”.

Walker, who grew up in Georgia and was a phenomenon for the University of Georgia football team, has made his roots the focus of his campaign. His crucial May primary victory and support from Republican voters was due in large part to his fame in the state. He will face Sen. Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, in a runoff on Dec. 6 after neither candidate cleared the 50% threshold needed to win in Georgia on Nov. 8.

This isn’t the first time Walker has faced questions about his whereabouts. Before announcing his 2021 Senate campaign, Walker lived in Texas for more than two decades. He registered to vote in Georgia in August 2021, days before declaring his candidacy.

Andra Gillespie, associate professor of political science at Emory University, said Walker’s tax exemption is unlikely to jeopardize his qualifications for office or deter Republicans who supported him in the general election. But she added that the information in the final weeks of his runoff campaign against Warnock could add more fodder to Democrats’ argument that Walker only returned to the state because of his political career.

“Herschel Walker never claimed he was a recent resident of Georgia; He was a candidate for a native son,” she said. “If the Democrats can mobilize some extra people based on these allegations, they will use it that way.”