In new campaign ad, Walker says males shouldn't compete against female athletes: 'Unfair and wrong'

Spot features swimmer who has criticized transgender athlete rules.

Updated: November 23, 2022 - 2:27pm

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Georgia Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker is criticizing transgender athlete policies in a new campaign spot, a contentious take just a few weeks out from the state's hotly anticipated runoff election. 

Walker—who will re-face Democratic Senate incumbent Raphael Warnock in the Dec. 6 runoff—appears in the ad with University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines. Gaines herself has been outspoken in her criticism of rules allowing "transgender women" to compete in women's leagues after she was forced to swim against transgender-identified swimmer Lia Thomas. 

"For more than a decade, I worked so hard," Gaines says in the spot. "...But in my senior year, I was forced to compete against a biological male." 

"That's unfair and wrong," Walker says in the ad. 

In the spot, Walker claims that Warnock is "afraid to stand up for female athletes."

The topic of trans-identifying athletes in sex-segregated competitions has divided the country for an extended period of time.

Advocates claim that athletes should be permitted to play in the leagues of the sex with which they identify, while critics have argued that males who identify as women still retain considerable advantages over female athletes in spite of their subjective identities.