Former Football Player, Abuser, and Certified Puppy Killer Running for Senate


Alexandra Rumford, News Editor


The American political atmosphere is becoming more and more polarized. Deep divisions between political parties and the reluctance of lawmakers to prioritize constituent’s concerns have caused great strife throughout the country. Despite the unprecedented state of our government today, many political newcomers are entering the scene- but they’re not who you would expect. Herschel Walker and Dr. Oz, both celebrities in their own right, are respectively running for the Senate in this year’s midterm elections in Pennsylvania and Georgia, 

Although the idea of the United States government is that anyone over the age of 30 who has been a U.S. citizen for at least nine years can run for the Senate, does that mean that an under-qualified individual should be elected into the legislative branch? There are unofficial requirements, mainly that you be backed by a party (both Walker and Oz are running Republican, in this case), and that you have enough funds to campaign efficiently across your state. Walker and Oz, one a retired football player and the other a television shrink, are running for our United States Senate, presumably ready to make decisions for the ultimate good of the country. 

Walker announced that he was running for Senate in August 2021, meaning that he’s been campaigning for just over a year against Democrat Raphael Warnock. Over the course of said tumultuous year, Walker has been embroiled in an inordinate amount of scandals. He’s staunchly anti-abortion, but news surfaced that he paid for an ex-girlftirend to have an abortion in 2009. When asked about the news, he denied it, saying that it was “totally, totally, untrue” but then said that even if he did pay for the abortion, that there was “nothing to be ashamed of,” which contradicts the rhetoric he’d been promoting throughout his campaign. He also was committed into a psychiatric institution for treatment of his “alters”, which were his erratic and violent multiple personalities that allegedly threatened his ex-wife with guns and other weapons for years. Yet another ex-girlfriend stated that he’d stalked and threatened her repeatedly in Texas in 2002, while his own son stated that he was an “absent father” and a hypocrite. Walker has fathered multiple children, and in late 2021 he was exposed for having three previously unacknowledged (illegitimate) children. Walker also sometimes simply  promotes misinformation. He’s procured a “COVID cure” which turned out to be fake, pretended to be a police officer, said that he went to college (he did not), and publicly questioned the idea of evolution. 

Walker, although unqualified, was nominated for the Georgian Senate seat due to  his close friendship with former President Trump. Trump pushed for Walker’s nomination and endorsed him so enthusiastically that Walker is head-to-head with Warnock in the polls. This is curious because Walker’s history of domestic violence, head injury, and continuously reneging values doesn’t make him a typical Senate candidate. Trump’s heavy investment in this race could be attributed to his loss in the 2020 election – all 16 Georgian electoral votes were in the grasp of his  hands until Biden narrowly clutched the victory. Although Republicans and Democrats alike are worrying about the outcome of the midterm elections, only the Georgian citizens will be able to decide who prevails. 

Dr. Oz, running as the Republican candidate for Pennsylvania, has political experts worried about the future of the Senate. As a doctor, Dr. Oz has  “long pushed misleading, science-free and unproven alternative therapies such as homeopathy, as well as fad diets, detoxes and cleanses,” according to Scientific American. Scientists worry that his brand of misinformation, convincing enough on television, would be even worse in the halls of the Senate. It’s almost guaranteed that he’ll bring pseudoscience to the Senate while voting and proposing legislation that affects the American people’s health and well-being. One senator went so far as to say that “The scientific community is almost monolithic against you [Dr. Oz],” showing the hatred and disregard that many scientific professionals have for Dr. Oz. It was also revealed that from 1989 to 2010, Oz’s science experiments killed at least 329 dogs and countless litters of puppies. In 2004, Colombia University, Oz’s employer at the time, was forced to pay a fine for violating the Animal Welfare Act. Additionally, Oz was quoted in 2014 as saying that sex with “second cousins” was “fine” and beneficial for “genetic diversity.” He’s also rumored to be living in New Jersey, despite running for office for the state of Pennsylvania. Oz used his relative’s address to register for the election, buying a house in Pennsylvania three weeks after campaigning officially started. Despite the opposition, Dr. Oz and his Democratic opponent, John Fetterman, are polling within the margin of error, meaning that their amount of support is about equal. They both poll well with different focus groups, so the election could go either way. We will see in November which Pennsylvanian triumphs. 

The amount of celebrity involvement and influence within our society and popular culture increases by the year. However, it’s still important to consider their place within our political sphere- does Herschel Walker really have the qualifications to be a Senator? Would Dr. Oz use his potential future power as a Senator to promote the spread of scientific misinformation? These questions have to be answered by the voters, and perhaps our lawmakers as well. Political reform may be in order so that we can continue living in a democracy.