Oxendine mail piece hammers Handel on gays, abortion

The Republican race for governor has gotten tighter and nastier in the closing days of the campaign and a new mail piece landing in mailboxes is just the latest salvo.

Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine’s gubernatorial campaign has sent a glossy, 4-page mailer that depicts former Secretary of State Karen Handel as pro-gay and pro-abortion. See Oxendine’s mailer here.

“Karen Handel talks about family values … but what’s her real record?” the mailer says.

It features unflattering photos of Handel and several pictures of abortion- and gay-rights protests.

While the shots at Handel are very prominent, much less so is who is responsible for the piece.

Oxendine’s name only appears in a hard-to-read disclaimer along the left side of page 3, where it reads: “Paid for by Oxendine Working for Georgians Inc.”

Handel dismissed the mailer as”vile” and “full of outright lies.”

“That’s just over the line,” Handel said. “This is politics, but it doesn’t make it right. You’re seeing a candidate who is falling in the polls and consequently, he’s flailing.”

As for the difficulty in determining that Oxendine sent the piece, Handel called her opponent a “coward.”

“It was clearly done in a way to mislead people and hide who sent the piece,” Handel said. “The average voters does not know.”

Oxendine’s campaign, however, said they “100 percent stand by this mailer,” campaign manager Stephen Puetz said.

They support it, he said, because “it’s all true. Karen is a liberal and she’s lied about her liberal past.”

Puetz said Handel is the only major Republican candidate not endorsed by Georgia Right to Life, a leading abortion-rights opposition group. Handel has said the group did not endorse her because while she opposes abortion, she would allow limited legal abortions in cases where the mother’s life is threatened.

As for gay rights, Puetz said Handel has lied about being a member of the Log Cabin Republicans, a group organized by gay members of the GOP. The AJC’s PolitiFact Georgia gave Handel a “Pants On Fire” rating for denying her affiliation with the group.

“This is really about an integrity issue with her,” Puetz said. “It’s one thing that she has changed her positions, or she says she no longer has these positions. All these positions are well documented. The fact that she continues to act like they never existed is, quite frankly, outrageous.”

Handel, too, is out with a tough new mail piece that slams Oxendine and the other two major players in the race, former U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal and former state Sen. Eric Johnson. The mail piece continues Handel’s theme of accusing the trio of questionable ethics.

“Three who look out for themselves,” it says beneath unflattering photos of Deal, Oxendine and Johnson, and “only one who looks out for us” next to Handel’s photo.

See Handel’s mailer here.

“She had already put out two negative mailers,” Puetz said. “And she has a negative TV ad, the only one of the campaign. She’s run an entire race, an entire race up to this point, doing nothing but attacking her opponents.”

Oxendine, by contrast, Puetz said, has run largely on championing his Contract with Georgia policy positions and only in the past week has started to draw contrasts with Handel through this mailer and a tough ad of his own.

Polls, not coincidentally, have shown the race tightening. A poll released Wednesday by the AJC and the Georgia Newspaper Partnership, show Oxendine with 31 percent, Handel 23 percent and Deal 18 percent. Given the margin of error of 5 percentage points, the race could be much tighter.

17 comments Add your comment


July 15th, 2010
2:24 pm

Am I the only gay person in Atlanta that has thought that John Oxendine might be a closet case? He really sets off my gaydar (and I promise it’s NOT wishful thinking in his case, ’cause he’s pretty ugly!).

But Karen Handel takes the cake for being a liar and a bigot!!!


July 15th, 2010
2:25 pm

John Asinine

July 15th, 2010
2:33 pm

Wow. Pot calling kettle black. What’s your real record Ox? Ethics and honesty? Seriously? It’s like having Ted Kennedy lecturing on alcohol or something…asinine


July 15th, 2010
2:36 pm

What is it with straight folks and their obsession with gays?

Doug, please don’t wish Oxendine on us. Yuck. The breeders can keep that one, thank you very much.

I’m curious to hear from Republican’s on this one. Do y’all start to get the impression that not a single one of them can offer a freaking SOLUTION to any one problem we face as a state? It’s like they think you people are idiots… Talk about the gays destroying the country (we have such power, for such a small minority of the population), and they won’t notice we don’t know how to do anything. At all.

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

July 15th, 2010
2:45 pm

Carol and DuBose Porter, elected on Tuesday by all patriot Georgians, solves the Oxendine/Handel “problem.”


July 15th, 2010
2:47 pm

I think Ox isn’t really very bright. Someone needs to look into his educational background and see just who his dad paid to take the bar exam for him. He is educated far beyond his intellectual capacity.


July 15th, 2010
2:49 pm

Dear Oxendine, have you looked out the window of the state capital? Atlanta has the largest gay community in the south and one of the largest in the country. What’s your deal? Why is it such a big deal to be “pro gay”? What does “pro gay” mean anyway? To me, pro gay means allowing the gay people to live a normal life with all the benefits straight people enjoy. Is that so wrong?

And abortion: if a woman is smart enough to get pregnant, she’s smart enough to decide for herself what is right for her, her body, and her family. The last thing we need is for a young, unwed mother on welfare to bring another child into a tough situation that may be insurmountable. Let the mother decide when she’s ready to be a mother. Her brain is just as good as yours.

A Gay Man


July 15th, 2010
2:59 pm

switched at birth: John Oxendine/ Gomer Pyle sheeeezammmm


July 15th, 2010
3:21 pm

I time I see or hear Ox my gaydar goes off – he is a closet for sure. I’m sure, one of these days, he’ll get arrested for tapping his feet in an airport bathroom or something. All the gay haters end up being gay.


July 15th, 2010
3:21 pm

New Campaign slogan for Oxendine:

No One Hates Gays More than the Ox

Oxendine is the creepiest guy. Ask yourself this question; would you allow “the ox” to watch your children for a few hours?


July 15th, 2010
4:00 pm

Really, what is the relevance of these moral issues in a gov. race? Esp when the gov can barely do his job as is- employment, education, and criminal system.


July 15th, 2010
5:31 pm

Is John Oxendine Gay? I have heard that he dips on both sides of the fence. This would certainly be typical of most candidates who are so outspoken against gay rights. Do any one have any info on this.

The Haimster

July 15th, 2010
9:37 pm

Wow. That Oxendine mailer is hilarious! I love the tie-dye shirts and the abortion rally photos.
Subtle. Almost like a subliminal message. My favorite part is the check written out to: Pro-Gay Group.

Anyway, looks like Karen is alright. I’d prefer Eric, but he’s just not going to make it.

[...] GOP-Gov: Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine (R) is continuing to go negative against former Secretary of State Karen Handel (R) in the Republican Gubernatorial Primary Campaign. The Oxendine Camp is now shipping a new direct mail piece questions Handel’s stance on gay marriage and abortion. Click here to see the mailer. [...]


July 17th, 2010
8:35 pm

The whole “gay” issue is getting old, and only shows how these candidates are pandering to a certain demographic. As a straight male, I’m offended they believe that bringing up this propaganda will make me forget the real problems that Georgia is going through. They honestly believe that Georgians are so stupid and bigoted that we’ll ignore the important issues, and vote for them because of a stereotyped hate in the South. I’m not concerned about gays, I’m concerned about jobs, and a strong Georgia economy.

[...] Oxendine decided to take a jab at Karen to, in the form of a mailer. [...]

[...] of the Log Cabin Republicans (it is a group organized by the gay members of the GOP). This is a post from the Atlanta Journal Constitution discussing her membership. Georgia Voice has an a post out in [...]