The mother of one of Herschel Walker’s children has said the Georgia Republican Senate candidate ended a relationship with her in 2011 after she refused to have an abortion as she had done two years earlier, according to an account in the New York Times. Instead, the woman gave birth to the child, according to the report.
The Washington Post has not independently confirmed the account, which builds on a story published earlier this week by the Daily Beast reporting that Walker, who is campaigning on an antiabortion platform, paid for the woman to have an abortion.
Walker had denied paying for an abortion and said he did not know what woman was making the allegation. In an interview with NBC News published Friday night, Walker claimed he confirmed the woman’s identity for the first time earlier in the day, when she messaged his wife with the allegation.
“I know nothing about any woman having an abortion,” Walker said Thursday to conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. Walker has denied to senior campaign staffers ever knowing about a partner having an abortion, according to a person close to Walker, who, like others spoke, on the condition of anonymity to describe private interactions.
The woman has not been publicly identified. A woman who may be the same person has not responded to multiple inquiries from The Post. Walker’s campaign did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment about the New York Times report.
The revelations could further complicate one of the most competitive Senate campaigns in the country and confirm fears among some Republicans that Walker’s chaotic personal history, including allegations of domestic violence, will continue to attract scrutiny in the final weeks of the race.
Republican and Democratic strategists are awaiting more conclusive polling to calibrate how the Georgia race might have shifted.
Republicans have sought to go on offense, releasing a new political advertisement Friday morning that highlights Democratic Sen. Raphael G. Warnock’s opposition to abortion restrictions and other issues.
Democratic groups are considering putting some of the Walker allegations in paid media after the Republican ad ran Friday.
The Walker campaign moved Friday to clamp down on leaks, firing Taylor Crowe, the campaign’s political director, for allegedly speaking without authorization to reporters, a person familiar with the events said.
Walker has built his campaign around the idea of personal redemption and points to a 2008 book in which he wrote at length about his struggles with mental illness and the help he pursued.
Conservative faith leaders rallied around Walker, with prominent figures include Ralph Reed, the founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, vouching for him. Walker appeared at a megachurch north of Atlanta on Tuesday and discussed his faith with churchgoers. Antiabortion groups also have backed Walker.
On Thursday, Walker appeared at a rally in Wadley, Ga., where he focused his remarks on his years as a football star and on lessons about the importance of perseverance.
Walker spoke to reporters afterward and attributed the scandal on Democrats’ trying to focus the campaign on his past relationships. “I know why you’re here. I do,” he said to reporters. “You’re here because the Democrats are desperate to hold onto this seat here, and they’re desperate to make this race about my family.”
Warnock launched a “Working for Georgia” bus tour of the state Thursday with plans to discuss efforts to create jobs and lower the cost of living.
The candidates are to meet next Friday in Savannah, Ga., for what is one of the most highly anticipated debates of the midterm election season.
Alice Crites and Michael Scherer contributed to this report.
A previous version of this story said a Republican ad attacked Sen. Raphael G. Warnock (D-Ga.) over his history of opposition to abortion. The ad targeted his opposition to abortion restrictions and support for abortion rights.