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Palin Campaigns for Handel at Packed-Out Buckhead Ballroom

Posted by Dr. Fay on August 9, 2010

Governor Sarah Palin drew a crowd of 3000 to a packed ballroom in Buckhead, Georgia at noon today as she campaigned for her endorsee Karen Handel.  By comparison, Huckabee’s appearance for Nathan Deal in Gainesville, Georgia, where Deal has strong support, drew a crowd of 800.

Aaron Gould Sheinin at The Atlanta Jounal and Constitution has provided an ongoing account of the Buckhead event from about 1 1/2 hours before the event.

At 10:30 AM, Sheinin writes:

It’s not everyday that a Republican event features the (recorded) musical stylings of Atlanta hip-hop legends Outkast, but the rally today for Karen Handel featuring Sarah Palin already has the electricity of a pre-concert crowd.

The vast InterContinental Hotel Buckhead ballroom is already filling with people and the rally isn’t even supposed to begin at noon.

A few chairs line the walls, and all are already taken by mostly older Handel (or Palin, or both) supporters, while others are already standing four and five deep around a small stage up front, similar to the packing of a dance pit before a concert. A precious few are parting with $3 for a cup of coffee, a bottle of water or a soft drink.

A Handel campaign aide said they gave out about 3,000 tickets and reached their max three days ago.

Handel, a former secretary of state, and Nathan Deal, a former congressman, face off Tuesday in the GOP runoff for governor. While Handel’s able to boast today’s visit by Palin, the former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP nominee for vice president, about 800 Deal supporters gathered in Gainesville on Sunday for a rally featuring former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

It’s an interesting crowd that’s showing up. There are some dressed in Sunday best, some in T-shirts and shorts, and more than a few dressed for a party.

At 10:45 AM, he writes:

Sharyl Dawes, 57, of Johns Creek, got here early to help with a phone bank the Handel campaign has set up. Anyone who calls an entire sheet of names gets a free T-Shirt, which Dawes is already sporting.

“I said put me to work,” Dawes said. Dawes is here more for Handel than for Palin, but said it’s a bonus to have both in one place.

“It’s more important that Karen wins,” she said.

But Joan Towles, 47, of Alpharetta, was clutching a copy of Palin’s book, “Going Rogue,” and admitted she was drawn more by Palin.

“I know more about Sarah Palin than I do Karen Handel,” Towles said. “I believe in Sarah Palin’s message.”

Knowing Palin endorsed Handel means a lot to her, however.

“Karen is very solid,” Towles said. “I can tell by the way she carries herself. She’s a graduate of the school of hard knocks. Karen Handel having Sarah Palin’s endorsement doesn’t hurt her at all. It elevates her to a national level.”

At 11:34 AM, he writes:

Palin is in the building. Repeat, Palin is in the building. In about 25 minutes Palin and Handel will take the stage and we’re told that the two will walk to the stage to the 80s metal anthem “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” by Twisted Sister.

At 12:50 PM, Sheinin writes:

Sarah Palin and Karen Handel just ended a spirited 40-minute rally in which the former Alaska governor urged Georgia Republicans to show the “good old boy” network that there’s a better way to govern.

Palin, appearing on stage at the InterContintental Hotel Buckhead with her husband, Todd, Handel and her husband Steve, said she’s been asked why “so many of us have an opinion in this race.”

“It’s epic,” she said. “It’s historic. The eyes of the nation are on you Georgia, to see if you get rid of that good old boy network. People are watching what’s going on in Georgia.”

Handel, a former secretary of state, and Nathan Deal, a former congressman, face off Tuesday in the GOP runoff for governor. While Handel’s able to boast today’s visit by Palin, the former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP nominee for vice president, about 800 Deal supporters gathered in Gainesville on Sunday for a rally featuring former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Palin, while never mentioning Deal or Huckabee by name, said she heard the criticisms of her decision to endorse Handel.

“I know there are some isolationist politicos around here who have questioned my endorsement of Karen,” Palin said. “I don’t know if they’ve questioned endorsements by outsiders of the other guy. I havent’ read a whole lot about that.”

She said she chose to endorse Handel because “I know Karen Handel is a self-made strong woman who pulled herself up by her bootstraps. She left a tough home situation and got a good education. She didn’t blame her circumstances. She worked hard to get where she is today.”

Palin said she and Handel have much in common. Both were considered underdogs who have been criticized by the political establishment.

“More power to her,” Palin said. “She’s been under-estimated her entire life. She’s been able to thwart what the experts have said about some circumstances and situations.”

Palin was joined briefly on stage by two of her children: Trigg and Willow.

The Palins and Handels came on stage shortly after noon to the 1980s metal anthem “We’re Not Gonna Take It” by the band Twisted Sister. With nearly 3,000 people packed into the ballroom, Palin made mention of the song and of Handel’s campaign slogan, “Bring it on.”

“Georgia are you ready to bring it on?” Palin asked the crowd. “Are you ready to elect Karen Handel as your new governor? The intro music? That was Twisted Sister singing we’re not going to take it anymore. And bring it on. I can’t believe that’s your theme. Did you know what you were asking for?”

Handel said she was thrilled to have Palin here, the day before the election.

“This has been a tough race and it’s going to get tougher,” Handel said. “That’s why I’m so proud to have this great lady with us today. Governor Palin you’ve been an inspiration for me. And this room says what an inspiration you’ve been for them as well. Governor Palin was under-estimated too. She took on the powerful career politicians, too.”

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One Response to “Palin Campaigns for Handel at Packed-Out Buckhead Ballroom”

  1. [...] whom Governor Palin endorsed for Governor in Georgia? (We wrote about it here, here ) and here) And remember who won? Well, the chickens have come home to [...]

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