ATLANTA — Democratic and Republican groups in Georgia are spending millions of dollars on highly personal negative advertising in the final weeks of the race between Senator Raphael Warnock and his challenger, Herschel Walker, disparaging the candidates by drawing more attention to their pasts.
Days before the candidates are set to meet on a debate stage, groups aligned with each party are flooding the airwaves with a pair of ads that underline accusations of domestic violence against Mr. Walker, a Republican, and marital disputes involving Mr. Warnock, a Democrat. Their messages are shaping the final few weeks of campaigning in one of the country’s most closely watched races that could determine control of the Senate, and at times one of the most hostile.
The advertising back-and-forth follows more than a week of negative headlines focused largely on Mr. Walker. After The Daily Beast first reported that Mr. Walker paid for a woman’s abortion, The New York Times confirmed the report and learned that the woman had ended their relationship after she refused to have a second abortion despite Mr. Walker’s urging.
Now, as Democrats spend big to elevate those claims, Republicans are hitting back to paint Mr. Warnock as a candidate also plagued by scandal.
A PAC supporting Mr. Walker, 34N22, is spending $1.5 million on an advertisement that shows footage from a police body camera after a 2020 incident between Mr. Warnock and his ex-wife, Ouleye Ndoye, who claims in the video and ensuing police report that he ran over her foot. Paramedics on the scene were unable to locate evidence of physical injury to Ms. Ndoye’s foot. Mr. Warnock was not charged with a crime.
“I just can’t believe he would run me over,” she says through tears. “I’ve tried to keep the way that he acts under wraps for a long time, and today he crossed the line. So that is what is going on here, and he is a great actor. He is phenomenal at putting on a really good show.”
The Democratic-aligned groups Georgia Honor and Senate Majority PAC are spending a combined $36 million to dominate the airwaves with anti-Walker advertising, including an advertisement that takes lines from a tweet that Mr. Walker’s son Christian Walker posted after the initial reports about his father’s paying for the abortion. In it, he accused Mr. Walker of domestic abuse against him and his mother, Cindy Grossman.
A voice-over on the ad repeats the accusation as similar text flashes on the screen: “He threatened to kill us and had us move six times in six months running from his violence.”
The ad also shows pictures of a police report that outlines an episode in which Mr. Walker arrived at Ms. Grossman’s home with a gun.
“Six moves in six months running from Herschel Walker’s violence,” the voice-over says again against footage of an empty apartment and moving boxes.
Mr. Walker and Mr. Warnock will debate in Savannah, Ga., on Friday. Early voting in Georgia begins on Monday.