Former NFL star Herschel Walker is projected to easily clinch the Republican Senate nomination in Georgia, securing his spot on the ballot to face off against Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) in November.

NBC and ABC News both called the race before 8 pm. ET.

While half a dozen Republicans sought the party’s Senate nomination in Georgia, Walker has long been seen as the favorite to win Tuesday’s primary. He jumped into the race last summer and quickly picked up the endorsement of former President Trump. 

Beyond Trump’s endorsement, Walker entered the Senate race as a star in his own right, having played football for the University of Georgia for two years before embarking on a lengthy career in the NFL. 

The general election match-up between Warnock and Walker is among the highest-stakes races in the country. 

Warnock, who’s running for his first full term in the Senate after winning a runoff election last year, is a top target for Republicans as they look to win back their Senate majority in a politically challenging year for Democrats.

The party is already defending the narrowest possible Senate majority, and, given President Biden’s sagging approval ratings and a bevy of domestic political challenges, Republicans appear well within reach of reclaiming control of the upper chamber.

Still, Warnock has proven to be a prolific fundraiser and adept orator, raising Democrats’ hopes that he’ll be able to overcome tough headwinds in November.

Walker, meanwhile, has his own liabilities. He has never run for public office before, has been accused of domestic abuse and has spoken openly about his mental health struggles. 

Nevertheless, he remains a beloved figure for many Georgians and has the political winds at his back this year. 

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