Georgia Republican Senate hopeful Herschel Walker just nabbed an endorsement from top Senate Republican, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Why it matters: Walker has won over some in the national GOP establishment, which had been skeptical of the former football star and political newcomer.
Get market news worthy of your time with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free.
After building out a campaign staff and quick fundraising start, Walker now has three members of Senate Republican leadership backing him.
What they're saying:
Herschel is the only one who can unite the party, defeat Senator Warnock, and help us take back the Senate. I look forward to working with Herschel in Washington to get the job done."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
Flashback: Walker received former President Trump's endorsement early on - they're old friends and Trump pushed Walker to run.
But there's no love lost between Trump and McConnell, who refused to back Trump's campaign against the legitimacy of the 2020 election.
Similarly, Walker has gotten the support of both Sen. Josh Hawley, who objected to certifying the election after the Jan. 6th insurrection, and Sen. Thune, who called the stolen election accusations "madness."
This is a big deal, according to Stephen Lawson, Republican strategist and former top campaign aide for Sen. Kelly Loeffler:
"It shows that Herschel Walker is a bridge builder and can be that bridge builder for the Republican Party in Georgia. I think he very clearly is trying to run a campaign that transcends a lot of norms and preconceived notions about what Republicans can and can't do in this state. I think it's potentially a very potent formula."
Meanwhile in Georgia, one of Walker's Republican opponents, Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black threw some shade after the McConnell news by calling himself "Georgia's candidate (not the Swamp's)."
Black, for his part, has racked up top Georgia endorsements, including former Governor Nathan Deal and former Congressman Doug Collins.
Black's spokesperson, Dan McLagan responded to the news bluntly: "This is the same gang that lost the Senate majority and both GA seats last year. I doubt Georgia Republicans are going to follow them down the path to losing again."
The big picture: All Georgia Republicans seem to agree that no matter which GOP-er wins, Democratic Senate incumbent Raphael Warnock will be a formidable opponent. He just raised nearly $10 million in 3 months.
Take it from someone who knows: Stephen Lawson, who ran against Warnock last year with the Loeffler campaign, said there's big question ahead for Walker:
"Can you do what is necessary in terms of building the infrastructure, building the support, getting around the state to go get around this state and run against this [Democratic] machine, the likes of which you've probably never seen before?"