Deal stops short of declaring victory

Republican Nathan Deal stopped short of proclaiming victory over Karen Handel late Tuesday night in the GOP gubernatorial runoff.

The former congressman said he was “encouraged by the numbers.”

With 99 percent of the vote in, he had a lead of less than 2,500 votes.

The race is too close to call, and an automatic recount is likely since less than 1 percent separates the candidates.

The winner will face former Gov. Roy Barnes in November.

Deal said Barnes would be a “worthy competitor” and he looked forward to “talking about the issues.”

Handel said there are still “a lot of votes to be counted out there,” referring to absentee ballots.

“Keep the faith,” she told supporters.

The three-week runoff between Deal and Handel has featured brutal attack ads, dueling endorsements from Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich and tough talk on the campaign trail.

Barnes — who already began running his first ad of the general election even as voters were at the polls selecting his opponent — said Tuesday night that he will run his own race regardless of the outcome of the Republican contest.

“I’m going to be laying out the comparisons and contrasts in this race based on issues not personalities,” Barnes said in a telephone interview.

Handel received the most votes in last month’s primary, leading Deal by 11 percentage points in the seven-person race. Tuesday’s narrow contest suggested Deal had moved to close that gap, drawing support from rural Georgia.

Deal, 67, and Handel, 48, entered the runoff with little money, but moved quickly to raise donations and keep supporters fired up. Both candidates wooed voters from south Georgia, which had largely backed other Republicans in the primary.

On the campaign trail, Deal cast Handel as too liberal and said her campaign lacked substance. He also suggested Handel’s lack of a college degree sent the wrong message to Georgia students.

Meanwhile, Handel repeatedly assailed Deal’s ethics and labeled him “a corrupt relic of Washington.” During a televised debate, Handel called on Deal to stop “squealing” about negative attacks and put on “big boy pants.”

The attacks worked with at least some voters.

Barry Myers, of Savannah, said news of the ethics allegations against Deal helped cement his support for Handel.

“I’m inclined to doubt how ethical he (Deal) has been since he’s been in Congress,” the 69-year-old retired medical technician said. “I don’t know how much is truthful, but I’m so fed up with politicians getting elected and forgetting what the people sent them to do.”

But Handel’s sharp tone turned off some voters.

“It was an easy choice. I don’t like negative campaigning,” said Sylvia Small, an Atlanta public relations counselor who voted for Deal. “A campaign should be able to stand on its own merits.”

In the July primary, Handel and Deal were the top vote-getters in the crowded Republican field. Neither earned the 50 percent plus one of the vote needed to claim the nomination and avoid a runoff.

The third- and fourth-place finishers in the race — former state Senate President Pro Tempore Eric Johnson and state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine — did not offer their endorsements.

Deal and Handel did tap national political heavyweights to boost their bids in the campaign’s final days. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin headlined a rally for Handel on Monday in Atlanta. Former presidential contender Mike Huckabee appeared with Deal in Gainesville on Sunday.

A poll conducted in the days before the runoff showed Handel with a slight edge over Deal. The poll by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc. showed Handel leading Deal 47 percent to 42 percent with 11 percent of voters undecided.

The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue, who is barred by term limits from seeking office, weighed in over the weekend and said the state’s fractured GOP will need some time to heal after the divisive primary and runoff campaign.

“I think the Republican Party wins with either candidate,” said Perdue, who has stayed neutral in the race.

Elected in 2002, Perdue was Georgia’s first Republican governor since Reconstruction.

Only those who cast a Republican ballot in the state’s July 20 primary or who didn’t vote at all were eligible to vote in Tuesday’s GOP runoff. Those who voted Democratic were barred from casting a Republican ballot in the runoff.

45 comments Add your comment

Handel Today

August 10th, 2010
11:15 pm

I supported K. Handel but will not support or vote for the crooked n. deal. That’s all the state needs is another crooked governor looking for deals and money for him and his friends.

conservative teacher

August 10th, 2010
11:23 pm

Governor Perdue is not neutral with these two candidates. Dan McLagan Handels campaign
manager was Perdues spokesperson. give me a break, Gov. Perdue!!!!!! All I ask you to do is read the house report on Deal. Pelosi and her committee did a job on him. Stop listening to gossip and study the candidates.

Old Gold

August 10th, 2010
11:23 pm

Gon on and vote for King Roy, leader of the Section Eight crowd….A libtard in conservative clothing….

Not what I expected

August 10th, 2010
11:24 pm

Karen is moderate. Karen supporters should consider looking at Mr. Barnes as the best leader for our state if, in fact, she is defeated. Look at the issues and you may find he’s your best advocate. And, those same supporters should consider casting a ballot for Carol Porter.

Rex D

August 10th, 2010
11:24 pm

I supported Karen Handel as well . . . The race is NOT over . . . Let’s see all of the votes counted first, and then draw a conclusion . . . If Handel indeed has lost, then we have to think long and hard about Georgia . . . We need a leader who can turn our state around . . . I am not sure that Nathan Deal is that person . . . I hope that Handel will run as a 3rd party independent, otherwise Roy Barnes will get my vote.

joyce andrews

August 10th, 2010
11:25 pm

Let me put it this way if Handal wins I vote for the Libertarian in NOV.

Tommytwotone

August 10th, 2010
11:25 pm

Deal is a fake conservative and big government relic.

I hope Barnes wins to send the gop a message: stop giving us fake conservatives to vote for.

Deal is as conservative as barney frank…he’ll suck up to obama and grow government just like all his establishment RINO buddies.

andy

August 10th, 2010
11:26 pm

I am just the opposite Voted for Deal but would not vote for the uneducated and inexperienced Handel. Looks like Georgian’s will have a little while to wait for the final verdict.

refudiated

August 10th, 2010
11:26 pm

I hope the results hold up and refudiate Palin’s intrusion into Georgia.

Drayton Xavier

August 10th, 2010
11:28 pm

I think that the middle will go to Barnes now, and it will be a cakewalk. The Republicans should concentrate on winning some of the “winnable” down ballot races, such as possibly Attorney General. Some view the Republicans as tougher on crime. Otherwise, in addition to Governor, the Democrats will win Secretary of State and Labor Commissioner with two fresh/moderate faces . . . Who will win Lieutenant Governor? . . . That will be interesting . . . Looking forward November!

CobbGOPer

August 10th, 2010
11:29 pm

I will not vote for Deal. I will vote Libertarian or for Barnes. I will not vote for that sack of…

Deal (Thank Goodness)

August 10th, 2010
11:29 pm

Hope Deal holds on. Handel is a bizarre candidate who does not fit Georgia well. She lacks leadership ability, ideological consistency, and her competence is questionable. Deal is far from desirable, but at least it won’t be amateur hour against Barnes. But, this is what we get for missing the boat on Eric Johnson.

Disgusted

August 10th, 2010
11:30 pm

Ah geez, do we really want an official who sees nothing wrong with resigning an elected office so that he may run for another elected office? He left Forsyth County taxpayers footing the bill for the special election that was necessary to fill the seat he no longer wanted…but fortunately FOR HIM that did put a stop to the ethics complaints.

You Know Who It Is...

August 10th, 2010
11:33 pm

@Tommytwotone – There’s no such thing as a “conservative” anymore…

Markforhandel

August 10th, 2010
11:33 pm

I voted for Handel because she did better in the debate and Palin endorsed her. I can’t understand why she lost. Why do I always back the losing candidate?

Pat

August 10th, 2010
11:34 pm

There is no hope for Georgia if Handel wins because of Sarah Palin sticking her nose where it didn’t belong.

Such a Deal

August 10th, 2010
11:36 pm

Palin absolutely killed Handel’s chances. Hopefully she may still win by recount or absentees but it would not have even been close if Sarah Airhead hadn’t endorsed her. Handel should be the candidate. If it turns out that way I hope she doesn’t bring the Airhead back to kill her chances of defeating King Roy.

Still Disgusted

August 10th, 2010
11:38 pm

Geez, Barnes or Deal…there is no lesser of two evils.

Pat

August 10th, 2010
11:38 pm

Georgia will be so much better served with Barnes back in the Governor’s office. He should never have lost to Perdue. The only reason he did is because he dared to stand up to the teachers.

Can Karen Even Read...

August 10th, 2010
11:39 pm

Just in case you didn’t know, Karen Handel does NOT even have a COLLEGE DEGREE. I’m a political junkie and I missed this morsel of knowledge because the so-called journalists in this state are not doing their jobs.

George W. Bush earned two degrees from Yale and Harvard…and this woman couldn’t pick even pick up an associate’s degree from one of Georgia’s community colleges??? Are you all serious? You all seriously want this state to be the laughing stock of the nation. You want to tell your children that a high-school diploma is all that it takes to be Governor of Georgia? Shaking-My-Head.

Rob B

August 10th, 2010
11:40 pm

oh yes, fight over that recount a little bit longer, you know Handel will keep pushing and if the tally rises over Deal on absentees then Deal will call a recount. Meanwhile, Roy Barnes is focusing on how to fix Georgia and not how to put a political party on top.

Tommytwotone

August 10th, 2010
11:41 pm

vote for barnes and teach the gop a lesson: we demand candidates who are actually conservative and will work to shrink govt. Unlike rino deal.

thanks a lot to the fake conservatives who voted for rino deal…mouthbreathers.

Jim in Atlanta

August 10th, 2010
11:42 pm

I’m a Handel voter who will not vote for Deal if he wins. I would pick a Democrat before going with and old corrupt bag of wind. Leave it to red neck Georgia to nominate an old entrenched Washington politician clouded in scandal when the rest of America is cleaning house of folks like him. Wake up Georgia and get a clue. This is not an election about social issues.

Pope UGA XXIII

August 10th, 2010
11:43 pm

Well, I didn’t vote for Ms Handel, but I bet she has one thing
going for her >>>>>>>>>> A BIRTH CERTIFICATE

John Roland

August 10th, 2010
11:43 pm

Yes. As these two go negative, Roy Barnes is working to return us to better times.

John Roland

August 10th, 2010
11:45 pm

The Palin endorsement, failin’ again.

JDW

August 10th, 2010
11:46 pm

I am sure King Roy is shaking in his boots……NOT

Tommytwotone

August 10th, 2010
11:49 pm

Yeah John maybe barnes can turn all of ga. into something like the Democrat utopia known as Dekalb county: a 3rd world cesspool of crime, drugs, and prostitution
The typical end result of leftwing policy.

Shannon

August 10th, 2010
11:51 pm

For the love of heaven, we do NOT need another Georgia politician who is going to do anything in his power to give away $$ to the rural areas south/central/north while ignoring Atlanta (the economic engine of the state). Handel OR Deal would be an unmitigated disaster: more of the failed policies of Purdue and the conservatives.

Word: sometimes you really do have to raise taxes. There’s a little thing called government services, and no, that isn’t a bad word. Education. Transportation. Public safety. Public safety *net*. All of these need money to function, and society needs these to function… ergo, society needs to cough up some $$.

What’s the use? Red state folks (and I’ve lived here my whole life) completely ignore the fact that they receive *way* more from the federal government than they pay into it (unlike, for instance, the Northeast). They’ve been trained like Pavlov’s dogs to salivate at the word “taxes,” only it’s a rabid kind of salivating. They hear “taxes” and they run with words (and sometimes, scarily, guns) a’blazin’ to take down the “nonbeliever.”

Never mind that taxes are a necessary part of government. Never mind that corporations, in which they put their blind trust, aren’t responsible to *anyone* but shareholders–and they only care about making $$. Never mind that the government is at least accountable to the people. They worship at the altar of free enterprise, curse any attempt at regulation, and parrot the talk radio knee-jerk hatred of anything liberal with amazing consistency.

Honestly. It’s no use.

"I will" barnes said "I didn't before"

August 10th, 2010
11:51 pm

Barnes did nothing before and well do nothing if re-elected. What a damn joke.
Deal or Handel will be better than retread Barnes. (He cut teachers before and remember the flag crap.)

Jesup

August 10th, 2010
11:53 pm

DEAL REAL………….Believe it…

hnbc

August 10th, 2010
11:57 pm

To Disgusted … well, Handel resigned her office, too. She was the Secretary of State, don’t you know. And, she resigned. And, she, too resigned to run for another office. So, I don’t get why you’re complaining about Deal! Just some food for thought there, Disgusted.

Tommytwotone

August 10th, 2010
11:58 pm

Shannon, since we all pay about half of our income taxes, how much more do we need to give up to fund services? How come what we pay now isnt enough?

I suggest you stop watching the daily show and reading liberal blogs, where you get your opinions from, and investigate govt. waste.

They could steal only 10% of our income and still fund basic services. Anything above that is criminal theft and they just waste it.

Winfield J. Abbe

August 10th, 2010
11:58 pm

This is another sham minority rule non election. Georgia has about 5.75 million registered voters. The total vote in this race is less than 600,000 or roughly 10% of the registered voters. Thus a majority of the registered voters didn’t even show up at the polls, let alone “elect” a candidate. All the abstentions were obliterated by the corrupt voting law in Georgia. This is nothing less than a gang rape of the U.S. Constitution by cheap legislators who write the corrupt voting law for the selfish interest of running government the easy way, not by true majority representation, but tiny minority rule. This illustrates the tyranny of the minority. Shame, shame shame. Is it any wonder Georgia is a corrupt cesspool?

Tommytwotone

August 11th, 2010
12:02 am

Uncle Wiggly

August 11th, 2010
12:08 am

I dontz no whats Iz talkin bout neither!

Sary Palin

August 11th, 2010
12:48 am

Gotta love Shannon: a left-winger who loves taxes but hates guns. Social programs are good, but corporations are evil, since, oh lord, they exist to make a profit for greedy shareholders. If Georgia is so backwards, why don’t you move to the USSR?

[...] Results of the Georgia GOP gubernatorial runoff between Nathan Deal and Karen Handel were so close that an automatic recount is likely. With 99 percent of the precincts reporting Tuesday night, Handel and Deal each had 50 percent of [...]

[...] Results of the Georgia GOP gubernatorial runoff between Nathan Deal and Karen Handel were so close that an automatic recount is likely. With 99 percent of the precincts reporting Tuesday night, Handel and Deal each had 50 percent of [...]

Carlos Spiceyweiner

August 11th, 2010
2:12 am

If that corrupt POS wins this run off, I am definately voting for Roy Barnes. Thats for sure.

Carlos Spiceyweiner

August 11th, 2010
2:13 am

If Deal wins I will definately be voting for Roy or anyone else.

B. White

August 11th, 2010
2:34 am

Would love to see Karen Handel, Sarah Palin and ol’ Mitt lose this one. Sarah really needs to go away and with every loss by one of the candidates she backed hopefully it brings her one step closer to vanishing from the political scene. Wait, she loves being a celebrity so that’ll never happen.

rj

August 11th, 2010
5:44 am

Thank goodness this hopefully is the end of Karen Handel and her insatiable desire and quest for power. Surely you really didn’t think she was qualified to be Governor.

pete

August 11th, 2010
8:12 am

vote more crooks in GOP style more tax breaks for the rich, and still no jobs.

pete

August 11th, 2010
8:19 am

but Deal should be in Jail