Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Herschel Walker denies report he paid for abortion

WASHINGTON, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Republican U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker, who has said he opposes abortion with no exceptions, has denied a media report that he paid for a girlfriend's abortion in 2009.

Walker, who aims to unseat Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock in Georgia, was responding to a Monday report by The Daily Beast that said the candidate's then-girlfriend provided a receipt, a copy of the check and a get-well card given to her by the former football star endorsed by former President Donald Trump.

"This is a flat-out lie - and I deny this in the strongest possible terms," Walker, 60, said in a statement late Monday.

Matt Fuller, an editor at the publication, said it stood by its report, which Reuters could not independently confirm.

The report comes two weeks before early voting begins in Georgia, one of several critical races that will determine whether Democrats hold onto their narrow majority in the chamber.

It is the latest scandal for Walker, a first-time candidate for office who has also faced allegations of domestic violence.

Trump and Republican Senator Rick Scott of Florida, who chairs the Senate Republican campaign arm, rallied to Walker's defense on Tuesday and accused Democrats of trying to smear their candidate.

Former NFL player Herschel Walker speaks by video feed during the largely virtual 2020 Republican National Convention broadcast from Washington, U.S. August 24, 2020. 2020 Republican National Convention/Handout via REUTERS

"They have cranked up the smear machine," Scott said in a statement.

Trump, who has faced sexual accusations from women, said Walker was being slandered. "Herschel has properly denied the charges against him, and I have no doubt he is correct," he said in a statement.

But one of Walker's sons, 23-year-old conservative social media influencer Christian Walker, blasted his father following Monday's report.

"Family values, people? He has four kids, four different women, wasn't in the house raising one of them. He was out having sex with other women," he said in a video aimed at conservative voters. "Y'all should care about that, conservatives."

Herschel Walker later said on Twitter: "I LOVE my son no matter what."

Abortion looms large ahead of the Nov. 8 midterm elections.

Walker opposes abortion, including for rape, incest or to protect the health or life of the mother.

Warnock, who serves as pastor at the Atlanta church once led by Martin Luther King Jr., backs access to abortion and other reproductive health care, saying on his campaign website that the U.S. Supreme Court's June decision to overturn Roe v. Wade "cannot stand."

Reporting by Susan Heavey and David Morgan; Editing by Scott Malone, Lisa Shumaker and Jonathan Oatis

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