Handel concedes GOP nomination for governor to Deal

Update 2:49 p.m.: Gov. Sonny Perdue has now weighed in as well. While it was long rumored that he would support Karen Handel for the nomination, the outgoing governor stayed cautiously on the sidelines in the primary and the runoff. Now, he’s welcoming Deal to the fold.

Here’s his statement:

“Our Republican family has nominated an outstanding candidate for Governor.

“Nathan Deal has worked tirelessly to represent our Georgia values in Washington against the forced liberal agenda pushed by Roy Barnes’ allies such as Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and John Edwards. The refusal of those leaders to listen to the will of the people on critical issues such as out-of-control spending and health care mandates simply reminds Georgians about the way Barnes ruled imperially here before 2003.

“In contrast, Nathan is a common-sense conservative who has consistently represented the principles and beliefs of our state’s citizens. Unlike his opponent, Nathan Deal listens first and talks second. Now it is time for our family to come together and keep Georgia moving forward.”

Original post:

Yesterday, Karen Handel called Nathan Deal a “corrupt relic of Washington.” Today, however, Handel said she is endorsing him as the GOP nominee for governor.

In a statement just released from the Handel campaign, she said she called Deal this morning to concede the nomination.The November ballot is now set. Deal will represent the GOP and face Democrat Roy Barnes and Libertarian John Monds.

Deal spokesman Brian Robinson said that U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., coordinated the phone call between Handel and Deal.

“They had a very good talk,” Robinson said. “Nathan congratulated her on a great campaign. She told him that she would not ask for a recount and that she would be on board to help the party to victory in November.”

Deal, Robinson said, “thanked her for her graciousness and said he looked forward to meeting with her in person.We thank her for putting the party first and saving us a lot of heartache. She has shown that she is putting Georgia first and we are greatly appreciative of her selflessness in this situation.”

Barnes issued a statement Wednesday at noon congratulating Deal.

“But it doesn’t matter who my opponent is, this election is about the serious issues facing all Georgians, not the out-of-state endorsements and sideline issues that the other team has used to divide voters,” Barnes said in a statement.

Earlier Wednesday, Deal appeared at a GOP “unity breakfast” in Buckhead, but Handel did not. But her statement this morning is clearly aimed at healing a party battered by months of a tough primary campaign and a brutal three-week runoff. Barnes, meanwhile, cruised to victory over six other opponents in the Democratic primary. While other Democrats, particularly House Minority Leader DuBose Porter, D-Dublin, took their shots at Barnes, that contest never reached the level of contention the GOP race.

AJC photographer John Spink said the room at the GOP breakfast was packed with at least 200 people. The GOP faithful warned that Barnes, the Democrat who lost to Sonny Perdue eight years ago, has wasted no time in launching an ad campaign against Republicans.

The event at 103 West on West Paces Ferry Road had the feel of a convention, with both winners and losers in Tuesday’s runoff encouraging the party to stay together to defeat Barnes in November.

Deal was one of the last speakers at the breakfast. He had already made the rounds at TV studios, where he expressed “cautious optimism” that he will be named the winner. At the breakfast, however, Deal spoke more confidently that he would prevail.

Deal called Handel, who did not attend the breakfast, a “worthy opponent.”

Although Deal was the most prominent candidate at the event, the one getting one of the longest standing ovations was state Rep. Melvin Everson, an African-American lawmaker who campaigned for labor commissioner but lost to state Rep. Mark Butler in the July 20 primary.

Everson brought the crowd to its feet after calling for party unity and then introducing his primary opponent. Butler will face Democrat Darryl Hicks in the November election.

Handel and Deal ended Tuesday night’s runoff election separated by fewer than 2,500 votes, or .04 percent. An unknown number of absentee ballots and overseas military votes had yet to be counted, but Handel said the “best thing for our party is to rally around” Deal and fight Democratic nominee Roy Barnes.

Here is Handel’s full statement:

“I want to thank all of my friends, supporters, volunteers and my campaign team for a tremendous effort over the last 16 months. We ran a terrific campaign, beat the odds to come in first place in the Primary, and came so very close in the runoff election.

“As of this morning, we are four tenths of a percentage point behind Nathan Deal with absentee ballots and overseas military votes yet to be counted.

“We certainly have the option of requesting the automatic statewide recount. But we are not going to do that.

“The best thing for our party is to rally around Congressman Deal as our nominee in the fight against Roy Barnes. 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.

“I spoke with Nathan this morning and let him know that I endorse his candidacy and look forward to the fight against Barnes. I have also called on all who were supporting me to give their same commitment and energy to Nathan.

I thank the people of Georgia for the opportunity to serve them and for allowing me to interview for the job of Governor. This was an amazing journey, and the friendships that Steve and I made enriched our lives immeasurably. I look forward to finding a way to serve this great state in the future.”

Republicans around the country are now weighing in. Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele said in a statement that “there is no doubt that Georgians will rally behind the pro-growth, limited government agenda of Nathan Deal.”

State Republican Party chairwoman Sue Everhart, meanwhile, congratulated Deal.

“In this time of economic uncertainty when each Georgian is concerned about their future, it is important that we elect leaders that understand solutions won’t come from more government bureaucracy, debt and taxes. Congressman Deal will partner with Georgians as we move our state forward,” Everhart said in a statement.

The Republican Governors Association also commended the candidates.

“Nathan Deal brings a strong conservative voice to the race for governor,” RGA political director Paul Bennecke said in a statement.

Democrats, too, responded. Nathan Daschle, executive director of the Democratic Governors Association said Deal can’t be called a “winner.”

“A vicious runoff and the narrowest of margins produced the worst possible nominee in Georgia: a corrupt Washington insider,” Daschle said in a statement.”

474 comments Add your comment

green green

August 11th, 2010
11:11 am

huh!? Well what job did he promise her?

David Staples

August 11th, 2010
11:14 am

One could always support John Monds, the Libertarian instead. He supports smaller government, less spending and lower taxes. http://www.VoteMonds.com

I4Integrity

August 11th, 2010
11:14 am

Intown

August 11th, 2010
11:14 am

She must’ve been promised something. C’mon Barnes. Pull off the miracle!!

deal_rocks

August 11th, 2010
11:14 am

Woot Woot!!! Go Deal!!! :)

JJ

August 11th, 2010
11:15 am

Oh……great! Barnes or Deal what a great choice. Either way we have 4 years of screwed up state gov’t to look forward to.

Joe Jonas

August 11th, 2010
11:15 am

That’s one of the classiest moves she’s made in quite a while. Go get ‘em GOP!

Chaps

August 11th, 2010
11:15 am

@green green: You forget that these are Republicans. It’s Democrats who offer jobs to withdraw from races. Ask Joe Sestak.

Michael B. Shapiro

August 11th, 2010
11:15 am

Is this the first loss for a Palin-supported candidate?

Steve

August 11th, 2010
11:16 am

David – You are envisioning a world far more ideal than the world we live in. Anyone without a ‘D’ or an ‘R’ behind their name is still a bit too revolutionary for the sheeple we call Georgia voters.

Herschworld

August 11th, 2010
11:16 am

Is it to late to cancel that check to Mama Griz

B'ville Boy

August 11th, 2010
11:17 am

Looks Like Roy will be our next Governor! Doesn’t Deal know you can’t be Governor while you are in jail?

Yes

August 11th, 2010
11:17 am

After hearing her response to Barnes new ad on WXIA this morning. She sounded nothing more than a whiny girl getting in trouble for playing with mommy’s make-up.

Go actually finish a term in public office next time please. Dont pull a Palin

sincerely a republican who voted for Handel

The Aristocrat

August 11th, 2010
11:17 am

Monds runs on an excellent platform, but regrettably this state’s ignorant masses are too polarized on the Right or Left to make a third party candidate contentious.

MG

August 11th, 2010
11:17 am

Very classy move, thank you Karen! Unfortunately Sarah Palin’s endorsement works both ways.

dalstar

August 11th, 2010
11:18 am

Oh he is a crook as you called him and ethically not a good choice your words. But now you gonna coddle with him. That says to me you are worse than you said he was. Go Roy Go ROY2010 Keep out the crooks and coddlers!!!!

Jack Coffee

August 11th, 2010
11:18 am

No- Palin has lost on at least ten candidates. I think her backing Handel- cost Handel the educated vote. Also- Handel giving in to Deal with only 0.4% difference means Deal promised her a position if she backed out. Same old dirty political tricks. They are all the same.

melissa's mom

August 11th, 2010
11:18 am

Nobody likes a gloater. Can’t y’all at least be civil about her concession?

Mr Right

August 11th, 2010
11:19 am

huh!? Well what job did he promise her?

Duh, she lost.

Jonathan

August 11th, 2010
11:19 am

Doesn’t she have an obligation to her supporters to ask for a recount? I feel short changed.

What’s going on here?

Philip Livingston

August 11th, 2010
11:19 am

I wonder what kind of “Deal” Karen got “Handled”.

Palin the Demagogue

August 11th, 2010
11:19 am

Thank God! Now we can move on the people’s business, instead of having Georgia politics contaminated with Palin’s specter.

ATTN: DAVID STAPLES

August 11th, 2010
11:20 am

I like the Libertarians, being a small government, low tax conservative.

However, that would fracture the Republican vote and put the pompous ass clown Roy Barnes back in the governor’s mansion.

Libertarians need to get their members elected to the legislature first.

Quick

August 11th, 2010
11:20 am

Well it figures, totally negative campain, has quit or resigned from every position she was elected to. Hope she leaves Georgia we have enough quitters.

Handel Concedes — Peach Pundit

August 11th, 2010
11:20 am

[...] From the AJC: “I want to thank all of my friends, supporters, volunteers and my campaign team for a tremendous effort over the last 16 months. We ran a terrific campaign, beat the odds to come in first place in the Primary, and came so very close in the runoff election. [...]

The World is coming to an End

August 11th, 2010
11:20 am

The Republicans have nominated a crook! If you are mad that Handel did not win, you have only yourself to blame if you did not vote. I cannot tell you how many people in my office said I forgot to vote yesterday. If you forgot to vote yesterday, kick yourself over and over until you keel over in pain. You deserve it!

Mr Right

August 11th, 2010
11:21 am

Who wants to go back to King Roy ? NOT ME !!!

ryan

August 11th, 2010
11:22 am

A vote for John Monds is a vote for Roy Barnes.

JBM

August 11th, 2010
11:22 am

“Yesterday, Karen Handel called Nathan Deal a “corrupt relic of Washington.” Today, however, Handel said she is endorsing him as the GOP nominee for governor.”

Hypocrite Handel.

Conservative

August 11th, 2010
11:23 am

Thank God! I thought I was going to have to vote for Barnes if Handel won the runoff!

dime turn

August 11th, 2010
11:23 am

Gosh, and just last week Karen was telling us how corrupt and ethically challenged Deal was. How are we supposed to trust either of them?

Keith

August 11th, 2010
11:23 am

I don’t know if Nathan Deal is the best choice for Governor but I am positive Roy Barnes is not. Mr. Deal will get my vote.

howard

August 11th, 2010
11:23 am

Handel has today endorsed a man she yesterday called a “corrupt relic of Washington” and former GOP VP nominee, Palin, who will likely now get behind Deal, says he is part of the good old boys network…..I can see why they like him so much….He’s a poster politician for the Republican Party.

Alboeve

August 11th, 2010
11:23 am

I love how they can go from ripping these people apart and how corrupt each other are to endorsing them! What cracks me up even more is that she thought Sarah Palin was her golden charm and that with Sarah here on Monday it was a lock, guess not!

deal_rocks

August 11th, 2010
11:23 am

I was sick yesterday and still made myself get to the booth to vote for Deal. I’ve worked for whiny witches like KH appears to be before…so glad she will not be the governor.

Jack Coffee

August 11th, 2010
11:23 am

One day she is in the lead. Next day Palin comes to visit. Voting Day- those with a high school education back Handel. Those with college degrees go with Deal. Thanks Palin- you dumb ass.

Oh Yeah

August 11th, 2010
11:23 am

Karen Handel called Nathan Deal a “corrupt relic of Washington.” Um…So why is she now endorsing him? Says alot about you Karen. Go Barnes!!!

Former Republican

Outsider

August 11th, 2010
11:23 am

Handel vilified Deal, now supports him. Go figure. According to each of them, neither is competent to serve. Go Roy Barnes!

Jane

August 11th, 2010
11:24 am

This was a class act and she should be praised for it.

Ga Patriot

August 11th, 2010
11:24 am

Good. Now let’s vote in Roy Barnes so we can continue digging out of this hole and won’t be tied to Mama Grizzly and be the laughing stock of the nation.

JL

August 11th, 2010
11:25 am

Classy move by Handel. I don’t think outside endorsements helped or hindered the race. GA has a lot of issues facing it and maybe the candidates will talk about education, unemployment and transportation

Proud Conservative Teacher.

August 11th, 2010
11:25 am

When you got Deal who had is party at the Gainesville Civic Center and Handel’s was at the W in Buckhead. That just irks me. Handel is nothing more than a brat pandering to the posh Atlanta scenes. The battle is going to be won in south Georgia this year. Mark my words.

Roy needs to go. He lies my fellow teachers. Were you actually around when he was governor all you teachers who are going to vote for him? Probably not. You think furlough days and your salary is going to jump over night. Stop living the pipe dream. Roy is gonna do whatever he wants and screwing teachers is what he is really good at.

Jack Coffee

August 11th, 2010
11:25 am

Right dimeturn- she hated Deal- not gives in- with more votes to be counted. That means- Deal offered her a deal- a job if he wins the Gov Mansion.

Shame on Handel for being dirty- and shame on Handel’s people for asking Sarah the dumb-ass to campaign for her. Cost us the Gov Mansion this year.

Jed

August 11th, 2010
11:25 am

Sad. Handel was the only major candidate who isn’t corrupt.
This was a classy move. She knows she’s not only helping her party, but also saving the taxpayers money from a recount. This is the kind of governor we need, but we are obviously picking the candidate we deserve.
I felt like this during the last presidential election, stuck between two horrible choices. What the h*** is wrong with this country?

LoL

August 11th, 2010
11:25 am

“I have also called on all who were supporting me to give their same commitment and energy to Nathan.”

Why don’t you also call Palin and ask her would she publicly endore Deal. That would be just icing on the cake for Barnes. I can just envision her at a Deal rally:

My fellow Georgians, stand with me against Obama and Health Care because these are the things that made me rich!!! You know me, I’m a household name now. I can definitely relate to you. I CAN SEE GEORGIA FROM MY HOUSE!

Barney Fife

August 11th, 2010
11:25 am

Well, with Deal getting the republican nomination, it looks like Roy Barnes in going back to the Governors Mansion. Dems will bring up Deals corrupt past and kill his chances. Handel would have been a better opponent. Now the republicans haven’t got a chance. You’d think people would be smart enough to run an electable candidate, not one with Nathan Deals checkered past. Oh well.

david

August 11th, 2010
11:25 am

I’m rallying around Libertarian John Monds and plan to vote for him! I hope you will also.

missgrace

August 11th, 2010
11:25 am

How can you support someone you were trashing as corrupt 24 hours ago? This is a joke.

dave

August 11th, 2010
11:26 am

classy move, now lets get together GOP and make this happen

dave

August 11th, 2010
11:26 am

I’m taking odds – Will Deal be indicted by our democrat appointed US Attorney before the November election? I’m think they are about 9 to 5 in favor. Great job: Georgia Republicans.