Herschel Walker, a former football star and a close ally of ex-US President Donald Trump, officially filed his paperwork to start his bid for the United States Senate seat from Georgia. The 59-year-old will now join other Republican candidates who are attempting to dethrone Raphael Warnock, a member of the Democratic party, in the 2022 elections.

Speculations about Walker joining in the race for one of the two Senate seats in Georgia have been in the mix for months, according to reports from Associated Press.

Walker is banking on Trump’s support to distinguish himself in the GOP primary. Their close relationship dates back to the 1980s, when Walker played for a Trump-owned team in the short-lived United States Football League. Walker, who went on to play 12 seasons in the NFL, spoke in support of Trump at the 2020 Republican National Convention and recently attended Trump’s private birthday celebration.

The strength of Walker’s candidacy for the Georgia seat is likely to be highly dependant on any potential support he receives from former President Trump. Walker used to play in the United States Football League in a team owned by Trump, making their relationship deep-rooted.

Moreover, the former American football star has often spoken in support of the former President, the most notable instance being the Republican National Convention held last year. Walker also joined Trump recently at his private birthday celebration.

Trump has publicly encouraged Walker to enter the primary, telling a radio show in June that “he’s a great guy, he’s a patriot and he’s a very loyal person, he’s a very strong person. They love him in Georgia, I tell you”, according to reports from Associated Press.

Walker has never run for office and will likely face scrutiny over his turbulent personal history as well as policy stances. But if he emerges from the Republican primary, the Senate contest would feature two Black men vying for a seat in the heart of the Deep South.

(With AP inputs)