Herschel Walker, the Republican candidate for a U.S. Senate seat, is set to receive a tax exemption for maintaining his primary residence in Texas even though he is running for election and living in Georgia, according to public records.
CNN first reported Wednesday that Walker is set to get a homestead tax exemption in Texas for 2022, saving him about $1,500. The exemption applies only to Texans’ primary residence. Tax records show that Walker took the tax break in 2021 and 2022, even though he registered to vote in Georgia and has been campaigning there against Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock.
It’s unclear if Walker will run afoul of Texas tax laws, and the Texas comptroller’s office notes that you can still receive the break if you don’t establish a principle residence elsewhere, if you intend to return to the Texas home and “you are away less than two years.” The U.S. Constitution also mandates only that Senate candidates reside in the state they will serve when once they’re elected.
But the revelation adds fuel to Democrats’ attacks on the Republican’s motives behind his Senate bid. The former NFL star has faced criticism for his residency before, despite his campaign’s efforts to tout his Georgia roots and his football career. He registered to vote in Atlanta in 2021, just days before he declared his candidacy for office, having lived in Texas for more than 20 years.
The Texas Tribune reported that homestead exemptions have been a thorn for several politicians in recent years. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) paid back some property taxes after claiming an exemption for a home his daughter lived in while attending Texas A&M University.
Walker will face Warnock in a runoff on Dec. 6 after neither candidate secured the 50% of votes needed to win the seat outright in the Nov. 8 election.