With just five days until the runoff election and voters standing in long lines during a brief in-person early-voting window, you might think there are few if any Georgians who have not formed an opinion of Herschel Walker’s character and decided whether it affected their interest in voting for the tarnished former football great in his quest to defeat incumbent Democratic senator Raphael Warnock. But as Walker seeks to drag the Republican banner to an overtime victory after underperforming the rest of the GOP ticket in November, one more volley of accusations has arrived via the Daily Beast, and it sounds like a closing argument in a prosecution:
A former longtime girlfriend of Republican senatorial candidate Herschel Walker has come forward to detail a violent episode with the football star, who she believes is “unstable” and has “little to no control” over his mental state when he is not in treatment.
The woman, Dallas resident Cheryl Parsa, described an intimate and tumultuous five-year relationship with Walker in the 2000s, beginning shortly after his divorce and continuing for a year after the publication of his 2008 memoir about his struggle with dissociative identity disorder (DID), once known as multiple personality disorder.
Parsa is the first named accuser of Walker in a series of allegations that have come out since he began running for the Senate, most of them published by the Daily Beast under Roger Sollenberger’s byline. But named or unnamed, the women involved are telling a similar story:
Parsa is one of five women who were romantically involved with Walker who spoke to The Daily Beast for this article. All of them described a habit of lying and infidelity—including one woman who claimed she had an affair with Walker while he was married in the 1990s. All five women said they were willing to speak to expose the behavior of the man they now see running for Senate.
Parsa is not alleging Walker impregnated her and pushed her to have an abortion, as two unnamed accusers earlier claimed. But, more than her predecessors in the imaginary dock testifying to Walker’s unfitness, Parsa’s story cuts to the issue lurking in the background of all the accusations: that perhaps Walker still suffers from the mental illness (dissociative-identity disorder) he wrote about in his 2008 memoir but is no longer being treated for it.
“He is not well,” Parsa said. “And I say that as someone who knows exactly what this looks like, because I have lived through it and seen what it does to him and to other people. He cannot be a senator. He cannot have control over a state when he has little to no control of his mind.”
Actually, U.S. senators don’t individually “control” a whole lot (if they aren’t named Joe Manchin), but more to the point, there may be voters who half-expect politicians to screw around and lie about it but are unsettled by the idea of a violence-prone person with an untreated mental illness serving in high office.
Again, the number of persuadable voters paying attention to fresh allegations about Walker in the midst of a blizzard of late-minute ads from both campaigns may be very limited. But this is by all accounts a very close race, and one role model for wavering voters is Georgia’s Republican lieutenant governor Geoff Duncan (a Trump disparager who is not running for reelection), as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:
Duncan wouldn’t say whether he would vote for Walker — until this week. He said he waited in line for an hour at a busy polling site in Forsyth County, got to the touchscreen pad and couldn’t back Walker or Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock.
“It was the most disappointing ballot I’ve ever stared at in my entire life since I started voting,” Duncan told CNN. “I had two candidates who I just couldn’t find anything that it made any sense to put my vote behind. So I walked out of that ballot box, showing up to vote but not voting for either one of them.”
If that sort of thing happens more than occasionally, those worried about how Walker might behave as a senator can breathe more easily.