Walker took a tax break on a Texas property reserved for "principal" residences, but this fact does not automatically establish a lack of the Georgia residency required for Walker to run for office in that state.
On November 23, 2022, CNN's KFile reported that Georgia U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker "took [a] tax break in 2021 and 2022 for his Texas home even after launching a bid for Senate in Georgia."
At issue is a tax break known as the homestead exemption. Under Texas law, a homeowner may apply for a homestead exemption, which removes a portion of a home's value from taxation if the property is declared to be the applicant's "principal residence."
Walker, Texas Resident?
Walker has lived in Texas for decades. To qualify for a homestead exemption in Texas, among other requirements, the home must have been the owner's principal residence "on Jan. 1 of the tax year." Temporary exceptions can apply. For example, according to the Texas Comptroller's Office, "you may continue to receive the exemption if you do not establish a principal residence elsewhere, you intend to return to the home, and you are away less than two years."
Walker and his wife, Julie Blanchard, have historically spent most of their time in Texas. Blanchard voted in Georgia with an absentee ballot sent to Walker's Texas home in the 2020 presidential election. As reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Walker registered to vote in Georgia on Aug. 17, 2021, using a property owned by Blanchard as his registered address.
Financial disclosures indicate that Blanchard is the full owner of that property, and that it is primarily used to generate rental income. Walker has stated in an interview with Rolling Out that he rarely stays at this residence when he is in Georgia, and prefers to stay at hotels on which he is a board member.
As described by CNN, neither Walker's homestead exemption status nor the status of his registered address necessarily affect Walker's candidacy for office in that state:
To run for office and vote in Georgia, 15 rules, not all of which need to be met, are considered for establishing residency, which include where the resident takes their homestead tax exemption and where they intend to live permanently. The US Constitution only requires a potential senator to be an inhabitant of their state when elected.
Because Walker has declared that his Texas home is his principal residence and stands to benefit from tax breaks based on that declaration, the claim that Walker is a resident of Texas is "True."