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Archive for the ‘Georgia governor’s race’ Category

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.

Posted in Georgia governor's race, Governor Sarah Palin, Karen Handel, Palin Endorsee, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Karen Handel Leading Star-Powered GOP Runoff in Georgia

Posted by Dr. Fay on August 8, 2010

__________________________________________________________

Karen Handel is enjoying a 5-point lead as the Tuesday GOP governor’s runoff approaches.   Governor Palin endorsed her before the primary last month and helped her surge to first place from a tie for second.  After Gov. Palin’s endorsement, Newt Gingrich jumped into the race on behalf of Nathan Deal, and Mitt Romney endorsed Handel.   Apparently with some coaxing from the Deal camp, Mike Huckabee spoke on his behalf  in Gainesville, Georgia today.  Governor Palin is scheduled to campaign for Karen Handel tomorrow. 

Obviously, there is a lot more at stake here than just the governor’s race.  Four potential 2012 GOP candidates are lined up on either side of the aisle.  We’re rooting for Karen Handel for governor and for Governor Sarah Palin for the 2012 Presidential race!  

Sarah Palin supporters who would like to help put Karen Handel over the top can go here to volunteer or donate.  Phone lists can also be obtained by e-mailing palintwibe@yahoo.com.

Ashley Fielding at the Gainesville Times wrote today:

Former Secretary of State Karen Handel is slightly ahead of Nathan Deal in the Republican race for governor.

[…]

The new poll was conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, which surveyed 625 Georgians likely to vote in Tuesday’s gubernatorial runoff election.

Deal and Handel are set for Tuesday’s runoff after neither earned a majority of votes in the July 20 primary. The poll shows Handel in the lead with the support of 47 percent of those surveyed. Deal is close behind with 42 percent; another 11 percent of respondents say they haven’t picked a candidate.

[…]

The poll shows Handel, the former secretary of state, dominating her home base of metro Atlanta (52 to 37 percent). Deal ranks especially well in North Georgia, much of which he represented in Congress for 18 years.

But in South Georgia, Johnson and Oxendine had their best showing, making voters from that region a key for Tuesday’s runoff.

“That belt running from Augusta to Savannah and all the way to Columbus and through Macon – that’s where the race is going to be decided,” Coker said.

[…]

The Handel campaign said the poll showed it had weathered Deal’s attacks.

“It’s clear that the people of Georgia are rejecting Congressman Deal’s negative attacks on Karen,” McLagan said. “We feel a momentum.”

[…]

Meanwhile, poll respondents cited the economy and jobs as the top issue driving them to the polls Tuesday. Handel voters cited economic issues as the top reason they are supporting her, while Deal voters cited his experience.

[…]

In Macon, former mayor David Carter said he’s supporting Handel because of her experience as a former Fulton County commissioner.

“I know from experience how hard it can be to be involved in local politics and I think her record demonstrates the toughness required to be our next governor,” said Carter, 80.

[…]

But for James Smith, a retired forester in Cumming, Deal’s long tenure in politics – first in the General Assembly and then in Congress – pushed him into Handel’s camp.

“I’m for the lady,” he said. “I want to get away from the old politics – the good ol’ boys. Let’s get something done.”

Smith said Deal not only served too long, but doesn’t have much to show for it.

“He hasn’t accomplished anything in, what, 18 years?” the 80-year-old said. “Everything that has come out of Congress for a long time is going broke. I don’t think they can accomplish anything – either side. Look at Social Security. Anything they get in, it turns bad.”

Joseph Zitzelberger, a 41-year-old computer programmer in Columbus, said he’s sticking with Handel.

“They are really about identical on about every major issue,” he said of the candidates. He doesn’t like that Deal resigned from Congress, forcing a special election to replace him.

“He could have saved the state a lot of money if he had just not run for re-election in 2008,” Zitzelberger said. “I think he already knew he was going to run for governor.”

Zitzelberger feels the most important issue in the 2010 campaign is reducing government spending.

“The way that money is being spent just has to be addressed by the next governor,” he said. “I think Handel will do that.”

In a second article, Ms. Fielding wrote :

In a primary election, the support of a few special interest groups and local politicians usually is enough.

But for two Republicans running for governor in Georgia this year, the campaign has become a game of dueling celebrities.

Both Karen Handel and Nathan Deal, each vying for the Republican nomination in a runoff Tuesday, have the light of conservative superstars shining on their campaigns.

Today, Mike Huckabee, the Arkansas governor-turned presidential candidate-turned television personality, will make an appearance with Deal in Gainesville to help bolster the former U.S. representative’s campaign two days before voters head to the polls.

And Monday, it will be Handel with a conservative superstar shining on her campaign as former vice presidential nominee, Alaska governor and current Fox News personality Sarah Palin is expected to attend a rally at a Buckhead hotel.

Handel has also been endorsed by former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has thrown his weight behind Deal.

It has given national attention to a statewide primary that one political scientist calls “surprising.”

Rarely does a primary election in Georgia attract so much celebrity attention, said Charles Bullock, a professor of political science at the University of Georgia.

[…]

“I’d have to assume that they think this is important in not only helping the candidate but also helping them if they do indeed run for the presidency,” said Bullock. “… Georgia will probably vote fairly early … it’s going to be an early state and early states in presidential contests are especially valued.”

For Handel and Deal, being used as a political launching pad by presidential hopefuls hasn’t hurt a bit.

Both Handel and Deal’s last-minute surges in the polls before the July 20 primary were largely attributed to endorsements that came from Palin and Gingrich days before the vote.

And as the runoff nears, both campaigns are hoping personal appearances with their celebrity supporters will drum up last-minute enthusiasm for what usually is an event with weak voter participation.

[…]

Handel’s spokesman, Dan McLagan, says Palin as Handel’s cheerleader in Buckhead Monday, will “lend a huge amount of energy and enthusiasm to the campaign in the final day.”

The appearance also has the potential to bring in a slew of new volunteers that will make phone calls on Handel’s behalf at the 11th hour.

“It’s not just a speech. It’s not just an appearance,” said McLagan. “… I think it’s going to lend a huge amount of energy to the campaign and open up some real grass-roots opportunities.”

The appearances will guarantee the two candidates major media coverage in the final hours before the election.

“If the Handel campaign has anything at all to do with (Palin’s) scheduling, (the rally) will be in time to make the 6 o’clock news, so it will get good television coverage as well as appearing above the fold in most of the daily papers on election day,” Bullock said. “For voters who missed the initial (Palin) endorsement or have forgotten about it, that will certainly bring it back home for them.”

[…]

National political campaigns often garner this kind of high-profile support.

In 1992 and 2008, during general election runoffs for the Senate, high-profile Republicans, including Palin, came to Georgia to stump for Republicans.

But Bullock can’t remember previous gubernatorial candidates bringing out such big guns.

“It’s surprising to see these high-profile individuals who are not Georgians become involved in this primary,” he said. “Maybe this is the wave of the future. Palin has endorsed a number of candidates around the nation, so maybe we can anticipate that this will come fairly standard that two years out, likely presidential candidates will be jumping in.”

Posted in Georgia governor's race, Governor Sarah Palin, Karen Handel, Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Sarah Palin to Campaign in Atlanta for Handel Before Runoff

Posted by Dr. Fay on July 30, 2010

Governor Palin will be campaigning for Karen Handel in north Metro Atlanta on August 9, the day before her runoff with Nathan Deal for the Republican nomination for governor of Georgia.  My guess is that the event will be at the Gwinnett Arena, where Governor Palin campaigned for Saxby Chambliss before his runoff in 2008 and where she spoke at the P. U. R. E. event this year

Berne Becker at  The Caucus at the New York Times writes:

Sarah Palin is heading to Georgia to campaign for Republican gubernatorial candidate Karen Handel on Aug. 9, the day before the state holds a runoff election.

In a statement released by the Handel campaign, the former Alaska governor called Ms. Handel a strong pro-life leader and said she was hitting the stump in Georgia because Republicans needed to nominate an ethical candidate for governor.

“She will be the 21st century governor Georgia needs to tenaciously address the state’s challenges,” Ms. Palin added.

A spokesman for Ms. Handel indicated that the event with Ms. Palin will be held in the Atlanta area, though where exactly has not been determined. But no matter what the location, Ms. Handel said in a statement that she was thrilled that Ms. Palin was making an appearance: “The energy and enthusiasm she will bring will make a huge difference in the final push to victory in the runoff election.”

Ms. Handel received Ms. Palin’s endorsement just over a week before emerging from a crowded July 20 primary with the most votes. The former Georgia secretary of state will face former Representative Nathan Deal in the Aug. 10 runoff, with the winner facing former Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes in November.

Aaron Gould Sheinin at the Atlanta Journal and Constitution wrote:

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will campaign for Karen Handel the day before the Republican runoff for governor.

Handel’s campaign said the details are still being worked out but that Palin would hold an event from noon to 1 p.m. somewhere in the “north metro area, most likely,” spokesman Dan McLagan said.

Palin’s endorsement on July 12 helped elevate Handel to the top spot in the July 20 runoff. Now, she and former U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal will face off on Aug. 10 for the GOP nomination.

“I’m coming to Georgia to campaign with my friend Karen because it is absolutely critical that Georgians nominate an ethical leader and a true conservative to take the fight to Roy Barnes in November,” Palin said in a statement released by Handel’s campaign.  “Karen Handel is a strong, pro-life leader who isn’t afraid to take on the status quo and do the right thing. She will be the 21st century governor Georgia needs to tenaciously address the state’s challenges.”

A Palin visit has always been considered the best chip Handel could play and after weeks of speculation, her campaign confirmed Friday that it will happen.

The timing would appear to be planned for greatest impact. The day before the runoff, Palin’s visit will likely energize an electorate that turned out in low numbers for the primary.

In South Carolina earlier this year, a Palin visit for Republican gubernatorial hopeful Nikki Haley drew 1,000 people with only 24 hours notice.

“I am very excited that Governor Palin is coming to Georgia to help our final get-out-the-vote push,” Handel said in a statement. “The energy and enthusiasm she will bring will make a huge difference in the final push to victory in the run-off election.”

Nathan Deal’s spokesperson went on attack immediately. Karen Handel’s response to Deal’s campaign’s previous attacks is posted on her website here, with a link to the original article.

Posted in Atlanta, Georgia governor's race, Governor Sarah Palin, Karen Handel | Leave a Comment »

Palin Endorsee Karen Handel’s First TV Ad for Georgia Runoff Election

Posted by Dr. Fay on July 29, 2010

Jim Galloway at the AJC’s Political Insider reports on Karen Handel’s first TV ad for her runoff election in Georgia:

Republican candidate for governor Karen Handel makes use of Sarah Palin’s endorsement in her first TV ad in the Republican runoff for government – which also condemns rival Nathan Deal as “a corrupt relic of Washington D.C.”

“One carries a purse, the other carries baggage,” the 30-second ad begins.

The TV spot follows on the heels of an AJC report of federal grand jury interest in a meeting called by Deal in the hope of preserving his business with the state.

Handel spokesman Dan McLagan says the ad is targeted at metro Atlanta, and describes the airtime buy as “big.”

It’s also the first major use that Handel’s been able to make of the Palin endorsement – which arrived late in the primary, after the former secretary of state’s slim finances had already been committed.

The script:

Male voiceover: One carries a purse. The other carries baggage.

One whom Sarah Palin says has cut government, and is the true conservative.

Or the other, who added trillions to our national debt.

One a conservative reformer. One a corrupt relic of Washington D.C.

Karen Handel is Georgia’s strong conservative. Impeccable integrity. Our thrilling, vibrant future. Karen Handel. Bring it on.

The ad by Fred Davis incorporates the black, white and red tones of Handel’s single “Lipstick” ad in the GOP primary.

Posted in Georgia governor's race, Governor Sarah Palin, Karen Handel, Palin Endorsee | Leave a Comment »

Handel’s Finish Is More Evidence that Palin Is Republican Party’s Most Potent 2012 Prospect

Posted by Dr. Fay on July 27, 2010

After a somewhat grudging introduction, (perhaps his perception of Palin was influenced by JournoList hype?), John Nichols at The Nation concludes that Sarah Palin ” is becoming the definitional player in the GOP—much as another conservative outrider, and former governor, named Reagan was in the late 1970s.”   

Good thinking, Mr. Nichols.  Too bad you listened to the JournoList hype.  But welcome to the right side of the argument!

Slowly but surely, and admittedly without much competition, Sarah Palin is emerging as the most serious and effective player in the Republican Party.

[…]

But Palin’s endorsements in Republican primaries—her most significant political initiative since resigning her post in Alaska last year—have been more adventurous and more successful than her critics (and some of her allies) choose to imagine.

Palin’s picks are eclectic, some Tea Partisans and neo-libertarians (think Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul), some relatively mainstream conservatives (think California Senate candidate Carly Fiorina) running against Tea Party allies. Some have been predictable frontrunners, but others are back-of-the-pack outsiders. What has been most distinctive about her endorsements is a penchant for advancing the prospects of conservative women whose candidacies are changing the “good-old-boy” face of the party, particularly in the South.

Much has been made of the Alaskan’s early and steady backing of South Carolina gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley, who faced opposition from significant elements within the party establishment and (as the state’s June primary approached) a steady stream of personal abuse from old-school Republicans. Haley was always a solid contender. But even after she took her hits she coasted to easy primary and runoff wins with Palin at her side.

On Tuesday, in an even bigger test, she had an even bigger impact.

Palin’s late-in-the-game endorsement of former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel shook up that state’s crowded GOP primary for governor. Here’s evidence of Palin Power: in early July polling, Handel was trailing far behind the race’s frontrunner, state Insurance commissioner John Oxendine, and was struggling for second-place position with another runner, former Congressman Nathan Deal.

When the votes were counted Tuesday night, however, Handel was a big winner—finishing in first when a substantial lead over Deal, who she is expected to face in an August 10 runoff. The frontrunner of two weeks ago, Oxendine, was training far behind.

What made the difference for Handel?

She shot up in the polls after Palin released a pro-Handel statement that read: “Though considered an underdog candidate (more power to her!), this pro-life, pro-Constitutionalist with a can-do attitude and a record of fighting for ethics in government is ready to serve in the Governor’s Office.”

 In fact, Handel was more moderate than some of the other candidates, but the approval of the Alaskan was enough to sway Georgia Republicans like Carolyn Draper, a 67-year-old retiree who told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It influences me. I am a very conservative person and I have very conservative values, and I think Sarah Palin does, too.”

Draper is not alone.

“The Palin endorsement definitely helped,” Brad Coker, managing director of Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, which conducted the surveys on the race for Georgia newspapers, told the Journal-Constitution.

Handel’s first-place finish positions her as the frontrunner in the Republican runoff fight (which is required when no candidate secures more than 50 percent in the first round), as Haley did in South Carolina. And if she wins it will be as a Palin protégé—with a website that urges voters to “Join Sarah and Support Karen” and television ads that reprise Palin’s lipstick lingo from the 2008 Republican National Convention.

Are we seeing a pattern here? Tuesday’s voting in Georgia was telling. There’s not much question that Handel has Palin to thank for at least some of her success; the last Mason-Dixon poll found that 30 percent of Republicans said they were more likely to back Handel because of the Palin endorsement. Only 2 percent suggested they were less likely to back Palin’s pick.

This is a pattern that extends beyond Georgia, and it has serious political observers, like Merle Black, the political science professor at Emory University and historian of Southern politics, suggesting that Palin’s stamp of approval really is becoming a serious factor in GOP primaries.

“Palin has a very intense, loyal following among Republican primary voters,” argues Black.

What is perhaps most significant about Palin is that she is not taking the easy route when it comes to endorsements. She is wading into contests where the supposedly “smart” move would be to stay clear. That’s a mark either of a fool or a bold political player.

To be sure, there have been missteps. One of Palin’s picks, Idaho Congressional contender Vaughn Ward, melted down spectacularly after he got caught plagiarizing speeches by Barack Obama (kind of a deal-breaker with a lot of Republicans) and imagining that Puerto Rico was a foreign country. And her endorsed Congressional candidates in special elections against Democrats have been notably unsuccessful: New York Conservative Doug Hoffman in a traditionally Republican seat last fall and Republican Tim Burns lost a Pennsylvania race where GOP aides thought they would be competitive.

Palin has also stirred some resentment by backing establishment candidates such as former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, whose comeback bid received a boost from the Alaskan prior to a June primary in which he beat more rigidly conservative contenders. The same thing happened in California, where her endorsement of millionaire Republican US Senate candidate Fiorina upset Tea Party activists who were backing a more consistent conservative, state Senator Chuck DeVore.

But when the votes were counted, Palin’s candidate had won the biggest primary in the biggest state. And, as Karl Rove says, it was Palin who “helped give conservative credentials to Fiorina”

What this adds up to is significant. If Branstad wins in Iowa, Palin will have a friendly governor in the first caucus state of the 2012 Republican presidential race. And if Fiorina wins, she will have an important ally in the state that will send the largest delegation to the party’s convention.

If she brings a solid base out of the South—with help from the likes of Haley in South Carolina and Handel in Georgia—it will be a lot harder to write Palin off.

After Palin’s political crack-up in 2008, and as someone who has reported on her ethically challenged tenure as Alaska’s governor, I was (like many Republicans) skeptical about her ability to master the intricacies of Republican primary politics on the national level—an essential first step in a presidential bid. But Handel’s finish on Tuesday, in combination with the other results she has contributed to, argue for a rethink.

The safer bet until recently was that Palin would opt out of the 2012 race, in order to keep making money and, perhaps, to position herself for a future run. But, like Ronald Reagan heading into the 1976 and 1980 Republican presidential primaries, she is beginning to establish a network of connections—and evidence of political savvy and influence—that make it harder and harder to dismiss her as a real prospect.

Juxtaposed against the gang-that-couldn’t-shoot-straight nature of the rest of the Republican 2012 pack, Palin is emerging as her party’s most potent prospect. A favorable result from Georgia will merely add to the argument that it is time to accept that Palin is becoming the definitional player in the GOP—much as another conservative outrider, and former governor, named Reagan was in the late 1970s.

The Republican primary runoff for the Georgia governor’s race will take place on August 10. Help Karen Handel finish with a double digit win!  Go here to donate or to volunteer your time for phone bank and other campaign activities. You do not have to be from Georgia to volunteer – just to vote.

Posted in 2012, Carly Fiorina, Georgia governor's race, Governor Sarah Palin, Karen Handel, Nikki Haley, presidential prospect, Republican, Ronald Reagan | Leave a Comment »

Will Palin Have Georgia “On Her Mind” in August?

Posted by Dr. Fay on July 25, 2010

Voters in Georgia are wondering if Governor Palin will visit our state before the runoff on August 10 between Karen Handel, whom she endorsed, and Nathan Deal.  As we noted here, her endorsement changed the dynamics of the Georgia governor’s race.  As Attorney Randy Evans was reported to have said, her appearance in Georgia on behalf of Handel could have an even greater impact.

Jill Vejnoska
at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution had this to say about Governor Palin’s impact on the Georgia governor’s race:

Does anyone still remember when the Georgia gubernatorial race wasn’t all about Sarah Palin? You know, before she suddenly breathed life into what one wit termed a “Zombie Campaign”?

[…]

And suddenly Handel, the former Georgia secretary of state who’d trailed by nearly double digits in the polls, ended up winning the seven-candidate race by a startling 11 percentage points.

That set up an Aug. 10 runoff between Handel and No. 2 finisher Deal — and kicked the feverish Palin-inspired speculation level up a few more notches: Would she campaign here for Handel? (Nobody knows, though the campaign gets asked about it nonstop.) Why had she thrown her weight behind a candidate she scarcely knew? (Her only explanation: Handel is a “commonsense conservative” and underdog.)  

[SPIB Editor’s note:  Gov. Palin’s endorsement was quite a bit more detailed than Ms. Vejnoska indicates.]

Best of all, would Deal dare to take the gloves off in dealing with the Palin endorsement, let alone two super-empowered female politicians operating in his own backyard (three, if you count Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who’s also endorsed Handel)?

“I call it the one-two punch,” chuckled Martha Zoller, who hosts a syndicated political talk radio program out of Gainesville. “That’s a bunch of really strong women there.”

‘Zombie Campaign’

While Palin’s imprimateur-via-Facebook wasn’t a first — in May, she endorsed South Carolina GOP gubernatorial primary winner Nikki Haley — it was certainly a bit surprising. Unlike New Hampshire and Iowa, where Palin has also made high-profile endorsements, Georgia’s not a key primary state for the 2012 presidential nomination.

Handel and Palin had met only twice, at a governors event at the 2008 Republican National Convention and in Georgia stumping for Sen. Saxby Chambliss later that fall. Their personal lives barely intersect: Palin, a college graduate and mother of five, grew up in a two-parent home in Alaska; Handel, married for 18 years and childless, moved out of her alcoholic mother’s Maryland home at 17 and managed to finish high school but not college.

And finally, not to be unkind, but nobody but the candidates and their mothers had been paying much attention to this primary for months.

“It was the Zombie Campaign, where you had this pile of candidates no one cared about just moving forward,” said Erick Erickson, editor-in-chief of the popular right-leaning blog RedState.com and a conservative commentator on CNN. “It was really a race without a heartbeat. That all changed with the Palin endorsement.”

An unabashed Handel supporter, Erickson, who also runs the Georgia politics site Peach Pundit, clearly has an ex-zombie in this fight. But who, all of a sudden, doesn’t?

From Deal, who Thursday called on Palin and fellow Handel-endorser Mitt Romney to moderate a series of debates here, to Democrats praying that the Republican infighting isn’t resolved by November, it’s not easy finding someone unaffected by Palin’s decision to put the paddles to the heart of Georgia politics.

That includes voters, some of whom admitted Palin’s endorsement was all they needed to go on.

“I knew we were due to have a new governor, but I didn’t know a whole lot about it,” said Paulene Shedd, 68, of Fort Valley, who voted for Handel in the primary. “I didn’t know very much about her until Sarah endorsed her. … I just kind of trust her judgment.”

[…]

Hitting the “send” key on her computer and recording a “robo-call” was all it took for her to reanimate and reshuffle the primary to Handel’s benefit. An actual stump stop here could similarly affect the runoff, which explains why Gary Chapman of Alpharetta posted this plea on Palin’s Facebook page: “You need to come on down to Georgia and lend your mama grizzly some support! The false charges against her are nonstop!”

‘Year of the outsider’

Enter the Palin Protective Shield.

“Most of the dirt the Deal campaign will throw will deal with socially conservative things,” said Erickson, who claims he broached the idea of the endorsement with Palin’s people early on and then got to inform the Handel campaign. “Sarah Palin sort of absolves her of all that. There’s not a person in Georgia who doubts Sarah Palin’s social conservative bona fides.”

Nor her excellent Internet connection. Hours after the primary votes were counted last Wednesday morning, Palin sent out a tweet that Handel was going to “ ‘Bring it on’ in a runoff against career politician.”

It was a play on Handel’s campaign slogan. If it also conjured up a certain maverick-y ex-vice presidential nominee, apparently, so much the better.

“Governor Palin is an outsider with a record of taking on establishment politicians, and that’s exactly who Karen is,” said Handel campaign manager Dan McLagan. “If you really look at the people Governor Palin is supporting, they’re outsiders wanting to shake up the status quo. It’s shaping up to be the year of the outsider.”

Well, at least one outsider from Alaska.

h/tp TX4P

Posted in Georgia governor's race, Governor Sarah Palin, Karen Handel | 1 Comment »

UPDATE! Palin’s Handel Endorsement Changes Dynamics of Georgia Governor’s Race

Posted by Dr. Fay on July 15, 2010

palenhandel

It was refreshing to see this article  (h/tp PalinTV)  on the Political Insider blog associated with Atlanta’s liberal newspaper.  In his article entitled “The power of a Facebook post by Sarah Palin,” Jim Galloway discusses how Governor Palin’s endorsement of Karen Handel in the Georgia governor’s race has changed the dynamics of that race. 

He relates what Attorney Randy Evans, whom we have written about here, here, and here, had to say about the potential impact an appearance by Governor Palin in Georgia on Karen Handel’s behalf would have.  Evans has a unique position in that he represents Sarah Palin, Handel’s opponent Nathan Deal, and Newt Gingrich, who has weighed in on behalf of Deal.  

Attorney Evans wrote an op-ed about Governor Palin during the 2008 campaign.  He later set up the Alaska Fund Trust, the legality of which he defended here.  Most recently, he wrote “The harassment of Sarah Palin,” which is posted here and here, in which he called the ethics case involving the trust fund what it truly was, “just more harassment.”

The power of a Facebook post by Sarah Palin

6:18 pm July 14, 2010, by Jim Galloway  

From somewhere in cyberspace on Monday, perhaps over lunch at her desk, Sarah Palin typed a few words in praise of Karen Handel and hit the “share” button on her Facebook page.

Within hours, the GOP’s polite race for governor of Georgia cracked wide open. 

Republicans are free to dispute the former Alaskan governor’s judgment when it comes to choosing a favorite in Tuesday’s primary. 

But they cannot question the political phenomenon that Palin has become in the otherwise dead air of a sultry primary season — especially in Republican races for governor.

Nikki Haley of South Carolina in May. Mary Fallin of Oklahoma and Terry Branstad of Iowa in June. And then Palin singled out Handel — “this good conservative reformer.” 

Last week, Handel’s three main rivals — state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, former congressman Nathan Deal, and former state senator Eric Johnson — could ignore her attempts to become known as a champion of ethics, at their expense.

But within six hours of Palin’s endorsement, state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine climbed down from his front-runner pedestal and leveled a TV ad at Handel that dubbed her a big spender, a funder of Planned Parenthood and a friend to gay couples.

With bad hair.

 Former congressman Nathan Deal also spent precious cash on a TV blistering of Handel. He, too, attempted to raise doubts about Handel’s policies toward same-sex couples.

And Handel, through spokesman Dan McLagan, felt free to respond with more muscle than ever.

“John Oxendine is the most corrupt politician in Georgia’s history and is far more likely to serve a term in prison than he is to serve as governor,” McLagan said, using scorched-earth political language seldom heard outside of Louisiana.

All because of Sarah Palin’s Facebook post.

For months, every major Republican candidate for governor in Georgia had pursued Palin’s blessing. And some, when the Queen of the Tea Party’s preference for female, reform-messaged candidates became apparent, tried to forestall it.

In Georgia, if you want to send a message to Palin, there are two obvious portals.

Nick Ayers is executive director of the Republican Governors Association. The former aide to Gov. Sonny Perdue was also Handel’s campaign manager in her successful 2003 bid for Fulton County Commission chairman.

When Palin — fresh from her stint as the GOP vice presidential nominee — was brought in to rescue U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss during his 2008 runoff, Ayers squired her about.

There’s also Randy Evans, former general counsel to the state GOP and a member of the state elections board. Evans, a partner at McKenna Long & Aldridge law firm, is a man of many points of view.

He represents Palin. And Newt Gingrich. And Nathan Deal. And Nathan Deal’s campaign for governor.

But Evans was forthright when it came to characterizing the impact of Palin’s entry into the governor’s race: More than significant when it comes via Facebook, but huge if she comes to Georgia in person — as she did for Haley in South Carolina.

Of the four major GOP candidates in the race, Handel has been the weakest fund-raiser. In metro Atlanta, Oxendine’s TV presence has been nine times that of Handel’s.

A single rally with Palin — perhaps with Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer in tow — would change that. So far, the Handel campaign has sent no signal that this might happen before Tuesday.

“There have been some real questions raised whether or not [Handel’s] voting record matches the more conservative part of the party,”

Evans said — slipping on his Deal hat. “I think voters will sort all that out.”

But the lawyer quickly shifted back to the topic of Palin and the current political climate. One year ago, the country — at least its reddish portion — was seething with anger over health care.

The anger has spent itself, town halls are empty, and the lethargy of July has set in, Evans said.

“We’re looking at horrible voter turnout,” he said. “If we crack 20 [percent], I’ll be happy.”

This is where Palin comes in. “Given how low the turnout is supposed to be, the tea party impact within the Republican party could be dramatic. In that regard, if [Palin] is able to deliver those votes, yeah, it’ll be a big impact,” Evans said. 

Over the last year, Handel has been the pick of many in the Republican establishment as a successor to Perdue. “I think this is an anti-establishment primary,” said Evans. “[Palin] is the signal to non-establishment Republicans that it’s okay to be for her, too.”

UPDATE: After Governor Palin’s endorsement, Karen Handel surged from fourth to first place in the Republican primary.

Associated Press writer Shannon McCaffrey reports:

Georgia’s former secretary of state, buoyed by support from ex- Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, nabbed a spot Tuesday in a Republican runoff for governor, while a Democrat who served a single term as governor won his party’s nomination for a comeback bid.

Palin’s nod helped former Secretary of State Karen Handel surge to the top of the polls in recent days. One of her opponents, ex-congressman Nathan Deal, had an endorsement from Newt Gingrich

[…]

With 64 percent of precincts reporting Tuesday night, unofficial returns showed Handel had 32 percent of the vote.

There was a furious three-way battle behind her for the second runoff spot. Deal had 25 percent of the vote. Former state Sen. Eric Johnson had 19 percent, while state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine had 18 percent. An Aug. 10 runoff is required if none of the candidates wins more than 50 percent of the vote

[…]

Palin’s endorsement of Handel – the lone woman in the race who could become the state’s first female governor – swiftly transformed the dynamic in the GOP primary. Handel had been attacked throughout the campaign as too liberal. Palin’s backing – she called the former secretary of state a “pro-life, pro-Constitutionalist with a can-do attitude” – was seen as a conservative seal of approval. Handel had the lead in a new poll released Sunday.

Handel is just one of several candidates around the country recently endorsed by Palin, John McCain’s running mate during the 2008 presidential campaign. Palin is largely credited with helping South Carolina Rep. Nikki Haley, once little-known in her state, surge to popularity and ultimately a runoff win for the GOP nomination for governor.

The day after Palin posted her Handel endorsement on Facebook and Twitter, Gingrich threw his support behind Deal.

This Georgia voter hopes that Governor Palin will come to Georgia in August and help Karen Handel win her runoff by double digits as she did for Saxby Chambliss in 2008.

Posted in Attorney Randy Evans, Georgia governor's race, Governor Sarah Palin, Karen Handel, Uncategorized | 3 Comments »