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.”
Update 1:30 p.m.: Here’s a response of the Palin news from Deal spokesman Brian Robinson.
“The people who know Karen Handel – the overwhelming, eye-popping, vast majority of Republican state legislators – have endorsed Nathan Deal.
“The people who know Nathan Deal – like Speaker Newt Gingrich and Speaker David Ralston and Senate President Pro Tem Tommie Williams – have endorsed Nathan Deal.
“The people who don’t know Karen Handel have endorsed Karen Handel. We have to give them the benefit of the doubt. They live far away. Maybe they just didn’t know the truth about her liberal record and her efforts to cover it up.”