Herschel Walker, a Republican running to unseat incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock in Georgia, this week categorically denied the report that he paid for female abortions in 2009, calling it a “blatant lie” and threatening to sue The Daily Beast above him.

Late on Wednesday night, he also denied a The Daily Beast reports next what the woman says that she later gave birth to a child, whose father he became.

CBS News has not confirmed the allegations or The Daily Beast’s report.

Walker will make his first public appearance since the allegations surfaced at a campaign event about three hours outside Atlanta Thursday morning.

The senatorial race has already been one of the most closely watched of the 2022 cycle. The race features a black Democrat serving in a state that hasn’t elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1996 — until electing two in 2020. And the state had never elected a black senator before Warnock won the 2020 special election.

Here’s what you need to know about the race and the latest allegations:

What races are on the ballot?

One Georgia state Senate seat will be on the ballot Nov. 8, just under two years after the state’s pair of high-stakes Senate runoffs in January 2021 decided to establish control of the Senate. Herschel Walker is the Republican challenger to Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock. Both parties again expect the path to a Senate majority to go through Georgia, where more than $243 million has been spent on ads this cycle, according to ad tracking firm AdImpact. Also on the ballot in Georgia is a gubernatorial race, with Republican incumbent Brian Kemp facing Democrat Stacey Abrams in 2018.

Raphael Warncock, left, and Herschel Walker.

Paras Griffin/Getty Images, Megan Varner/Getty Images

Why is the Republican Party so optimistic about Georgia?

It all comes down to Senate control. The Senate is currently split 50-50, but Democrats control it thanks to the vice president, who provides the deciding vote. But with 35 seats up for re-election in November, Republicans hope they can regain control. This is where Georgigo comes in. A victory in the Peach State could be what puts Republicans over the edge and back into the majority.

“Georgia was one they thought they could just win, even with a not-so-great candidate,” conservative radio host Eric Erickson told CBS News. “And now it seems to be most at risk.”

President Joe Biden won Georgia in 2020 by just 14,000 votes, or just 0.3%, becoming the first Democrat to win a presidential election since Bill Clinton in 1992. two senate races held in the state in 2020 because of Sen. Johnny Isaacsonresignation and Senator David Perdue, who is regularly scheduled for election. In the race for the Perdue seat, he actually led Jon Ossoff 49.7% to 47.9% after Election Day, but was 0.3% short of the 50% needed to avoid a runoff. Despite Trump’s last-minute rally, Ossoff won the runoff.

As for the other seat, incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who was appointed Isaac’s seat – was forced into a jungle primary runoff after Warnock won 32.5% of the vote to Loeffler’s 29.5%, even though there were 21 candidates in the race. Warnock ended up winning in the second round in January.

Who is Herschel Walker?

Walker is best known for his Heisman Trophy-winning performance as a running back for the University of Georgia. He helped lead the team to a national championship in 1980 and was later inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999. After three years at Georgia, Walker went on to play professional football in both the now-defunct USFL and the NFL. It was while at the USFL that Walker met former President Donald Trump, who actively supported Walker’s Senate race.

Walker announced his candidacy for the Georgia Senate in August 2021, saying he “couldn’t sit on the sidelines any longer.” This is his first candidacy, and he has often invoked his status as an outsider in Washington on the campaign trail.

Why was Herschel Walker in the news this week?

Walker is defending himself after The Daily Beast reported that the Senate candidate, who is outspoken against abortion rights, allegedly paid a woman he was dating to have an abortion in 2009. CBS News has not confirmed that payment. The Daily Beast reported that the unidentified woman backed up her claim with a $575 receipt from the abortion clinic and a signed personal check for $700 from Walker to cover the expenses. She told The Daily Beast she spoke out over Walker’s stance on abortion, saying, “I just can’t take the hypocrisy anymore. We all deserve better.”

on wednesday This is reported by The Daily Beast that she also said she later bore him a child. He also denied this information.

What was his answer?

Walker denied both charges.

In the first, he tweeted: “this is an outright lie” and “another disgusting piece of work by a democracy activist masquerading as a reporter.” In a tweet, he added that he plans to sue The Daily Beast for defamation, but Walker’s attorney, Robert Ingram, told CBS News, “We are currently considering our options, but no final decision has been made on how to proceed with this case.”

After the second report, he said in a statement, “As I said, there is no truth to this or any other Daily Beast report.”

Walker attended a campaign event in Atlanta on Tuesday but did not allow the press inside. His campaign sought to return to the core issues of the campaign against Warnock: the rising cost of living and crime in Georgia. National Republicans discredited the allegations:

The chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee is Senator Rick Scott equates to Walker’s pay to sexual assault allegations against Superior Court Judge Brett Kavanagh during his confirmation hearings. The same committee added to the Georgia ad buy Tuesday after the indictment against Walker emerged.

Who is Christian Walker?

Christian Walker is the grown son of Herschel Walker and is a prominent conservative figure on social media and YouTube. The 23-year-old previously expressed support for his father’s candidacy for the Senate, chirping in December about presenting it to Mar-a-Lago and saying a year ago that “everyone is very glad that my father is Herschel Walker” runs.

Following The Daily Beast’s story, Christian Walker posted several tweets and videos urging his father to “stop lying” and saying that “every member of Herschel Walker’s family asked him not to run because we all knew (some of) his past “. Christian Walker seemed to confirm some of The Daily Beast reports, in one video he said that “it’s literally his handwriting on the card.” After the first series of posts by her son Herschel Walker tweeted“I LOVE my son no matter what.”

What about the polls before this incident?

The very last CBS News Battleground Tracker A poll conducted before the indictments showed the two candidates tied, with Walker trailing incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock by just two points. This puts the race in the “toss-up” category.

What are the Republicans saying?

Many Republicans are backing Walker, recognizing the importance of maintaining a united front ahead of the midterm elections in an effort to regain control of the Senate.

Scott released a statement saying Democrats “know they’re on the verge of losing the Senate, and they know Herschel Walker is winning, so they’ve started the smear machine.”

Trump also released a statement expressing his support for Walker, a longtime friend, saying, “Herschel Walker is being defamed and slandered by the fake news media and obviously the Democrats.” He added that “it is very important to our country and the great state of Georgia that Herschel Walker wins this election.

What does his opponent say?

Warnock chose to sidestep the issue for the time being. During an event Monday night, when asked about the latest report from The Daily Beast, He told reporters: “I’ll let the pundits decide how they think it will affect the race.”

Warnock himself, a pastor, has not escaped accusations during this race, often running ads accusing him of domestic violence. The charges stem from a The 2020 incident where Warnock allegedly ran over his wife’s leg with a car, no charges were filed.

The pair are set to debate in Savannah on Friday, October 14. The debate is likely to touch on abortion and could be a chance for Warnock to make a charge against Walker in a race that has become increasingly personal.

What are the voters of Georgia saying?

Like incumbent Republicans, many Georgia GOP voters plan to stick with Walker in this race. Adam Whitney told CBS News he believes his fellow Georgia Republicans will stick with Walker despite the latest allegations against him.

“It’s very partisan and that people tend to side with the party, sometimes over the person,” Whitney said. “In terms of the general population, I think people just vote for the party.”

Voters on both sides also expressed growing frustration with the frequent accusations against both candidates — and near-constant television ads about them in the state.

“It’s a shame we can’t talk about the real issues that matter because we’re distracted by people with no integrity like Herschel Walker,” Amy Brookman, a registered Democrat, told CBS News. “I think it does the Republicans a disservice. I’d like to see more dialogue about real issues between Democrats and Republicans.”