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Archive for August 11th, 2010

Handel Remains Optimistic While Awaiting Official Count

Posted by Dr. Fay on August 11, 2010

______________________________________

UPDATE:  The Wall Street Journal reports that Karen Handel has conceded the Georgia governor’s race.  This is, of course, a disappointment to her supporters, especially since the final election results are not in yet.

Former Secretary of State Karen Handel on Wednesday conceded the race for the Republican nomination for governor, throwing her support behind former U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal.

Ms. Handel, who trailed Mr. Deal by less than 2,500 votes out of more than a half-million cast, said she would not seek a re-count in the race. Under Georgia law, the runner-up can request a re-count if the margin is less than 1% of the vote.

Mr. Deal will face Democrat Roy Barnes, a former one-term governor, in the November general election.

“The best thing for our party is to rally around Congressman Deal as our nominee in the fight against Roy Barnes,” Ms. Handel said in a statement released by her campaign. “Barnes would return Georgia to a past that is best kept in our rearview mirror. We must marshal all of our resources to defeat him.”

In unofficial returns, Mr. Deal and Ms. Handel each claimed 50% of the vote with 99% of precincts reporting. Mr. Deal held a lead of 2,489 votes with an unknown number of provisional, overseas and military ballots yet to be counted.

[…]

Deal spokesman Brian Robinson said, “Secretary Handel has put her state and her party before herself today. She acted as a true statesman and we are very appreciative of that. With her gesture, we are now able to focus our full attention as a party on defeating Roy Barnes in November.”

[…]

Ms. Handel had been the presumed front runner. She catapulted to the top of the seven-person GOP field in the July 20 primary—outpacing Mr. Deal by 11 percentage points. An endorsement from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin helped. Ms. Palin flew across four time zones on Monday to stump for Ms. Handel in Atlanta in a rally designed to lift the former secretary of state across the finish line.

Earlier we wrote:

The GOP governor’s race runoff in Georgia is too close to call.  It may be next week before the final results of that race are known.  Since the race is so clsoe,  a recount may be requested by either candidate at that time.  As reported on the Georgia Elections Central page at the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Palin Endorsee Karen Handel remained optimistic last night that the large number of uncounted absentee ballots could pull her over the top.

Update 11:09 p.m.: Handel just spoke to supporters. Her voice sounds a little hoarse, understandably as it’s been a long day.

“What an incredible, incredible night,” she said. “I came down here to say thank you. You’ve been following all the numbers. I think it’s going to be a little bit longer. There are a lot of absentee ballots still out there to be counted. Keep our fingers crossed and be optimistic.

“This is a great, great campaign. We remember when we started that no one, no one thought we’d be able to come this far. I feel optimistic. There are a lot of absentee ballots out there.”

She thanked her staff, her husband Steve and sent the crowd into a frenzy.

“We’ll stay optimistic the rest of the night,” she said. “Let’s be optimistic, keep the faith and party on!”

Ashley Fielding at the Gainesville Times reported this morning on a statement by the office of the Secretary of State of Georgia : 

A decision in the Republican race for governor in Georgia may not be official until early next week.

A spokesman for the Secretary of State’s office said Wednesday morning he could not say for sure how many ballots are left to be counted in the hotly contested Republican runoff between Nathan Deal and Karen Handel.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Deal has a 2,489 vote lead over Georgia’s former secretary of state.

Whether that lead will hold could hinge upon the number of outstanding ballots left to be counted.

“I just don’t have access to that right now,” said Matt Carrothers, a spokesman for the Secretary of State’s office.

Voters who cast a provisional ballot due to questions of eligibility on Tuesday have until the close of business Thursday to return to their local elections office and clear up any issues.

Members of the military and voters overseas have until Friday to return their ballots.

Once those ballots are official, local elections offices must tabulate their final voting numbers and send their certified results to the Secretary of State’s office.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp likely will not deem those results official until sometime next week, and if the margin of votes is within 1 percentage point, the losing candidate has two business days to ask for a recount, Carrothers said.

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