Tom Graves and the Handel-Deal GOP runoff

Tom Graves has Nathan Deal to thank for his seat in Congress. Deal might have Graves to thank if he ends up in the governor’s mansion.

That’s my first, early (very early) thought about the results of last night’s primary, in which Deal and Karen Handel advanced to a runoff for the GOP nomination.

A runoff is in no small part about motivation and turnout. Whose supporters will show up at the polls again, just three weeks after the last time and less than three months before the general election?

Both Handel and Deal have momentum on their side. For months, simply reaching the runoff — presumably against John Oxendine — was the goal. Now both of them have done that, riding a swell of support over the past couple of weeks.

Now that they’re there, the campaigns will be tempted to turn this into a referendum on whose mud, when slung, sticks the best. These people flat don’t like one another, and more negative campaigning is likely. But at this point, can either campaign effectively motivate voters to go vote against someone else? And won’t the state Republican Party beseech both candidates to keep things even a teensy bit civil, given that Democratic nominee Roy Barnes has three weeks to rest and raise money while Handel and Deal duke it out?

Enter Tom Graves.

Come August, Graves will be on the ballot in Georgia’s 9th Congressional District — the district Deal represented for 17 years, until he resigned this spring to focus on his gubernatorial campaign — for the fourth time in three months. He won a plurality in a May 11 special election to fill the rest of Deal’s unexpired term, then won the seat in a June runoff against Lee Hawkins.

Last night, Graves fell 419 votes short of the majority he needed to keep the seat in 2011-12. He’ll face Hawkins in another runoff on Aug. 10.

While North Georgia voters may be tired of voting at this point, the congressional race will surely make them more likely to turn out for the runoff. And given Deal’s residual strength up north, any additional turnout there will surely help him (it also doesn’t hurt that he and Hawkins, who is trying to make the fourth time a charm against Graves, both hail from Hall County).

There will of course be any number of other factors in the race: What will be the effect of a runoff in the attorney general’s race? Where will third-place finisher Eric Johnson throw his support? After falling so far so fast, can frontrunner-turned-fourth-place John Oxendine still throw any weight around with his supporters?

But don’t underestimate the importance of those 419 votes Tom Graves didn’t get Tuesday.

78 comments Add your comment

Fun Guy

July 21st, 2010
6:31 am

DeborahinAthens

July 21st, 2010
6:47 am

We have a man who is the worst representative I’ve ever had in almost 45 years of voting-Nathan Deal- running against a woman who, because of a paucity of ideas didn’t have the courage to be part of any debate (don’t let the smoke about McBerry fool you) for the top office in this state. I’m sure Handel’s “handlers” told her to keep her mouth shut as much as possible so that no one could pin her down on any of her ideas. The fact that the air-head Palin stumped for Handel merely proves my point. Then we have Barnes. Is there no wonder that people are “tired of voting”? If we had someone that was worthwhile, it might be different. We will never, ever work our way out of this mess if we keep re-electing the same smooth talkers with the carefully controlled sound bites. I will go to the polls as often as it takes, I will hold my nose and vote. God help us.

John Konop

July 21st, 2010
7:39 am

I really do hope the run-off election between Handel and Deal will focus on issues. I have a few questions about issues.

Economy/jobs:

1) Should we not be embracing businesses around the CDC like stem-cell, IVF….rather than scaring them off?
2) If we make it difficult for businesses related to the CDC why would they not just move to places like NC?
3) What is your exact plan to attrack business to Georgia?
4) How can we not fix the transportation problems and expect the economy to grow in the long term?

Education:

1) Nathan Deal why did you vote for No Child Left Behind and do you still support this failed approach to education?
2) Do you support a 1 track system or multi-track ie vocational education?
3) What is your view on the failed math123?
4) Do you support promoting and expanding joint enrollment?

Budget:

1) How will you balance the short fall for state employee healthcare plan?
2) How will you make up close to a billion dollars of money in the budget from a 1 time sale and stimulus money not even passed yet in next years budget?
3) If the cost of the service is higher and you cannot make the cuts needed will you raise user fees?
4) Nathan Deal you voted for Medicare part D which will bankrupt our country, No Child Left Behind which exploded education cost, bridges to nowhere in the highway bill…….why should tax payers trust that you not continue the same irresponsible approach that got us into this mess on the state level?

Grand Forks

July 21st, 2010
7:52 am

Handel received 33% of the vote

Deal received 23% of the vote.

Why is there a run off?

Grand Forks

July 21st, 2010
8:27 am

Kyle, just curious

Have you heard any screaming in the hallways of the AJC this morning? I’m sure Ms. Tucker is pretty upset at the evidence that has come out against left wing commie journalists who partook in the silencing of the Rev. Wright story in 08. Just read a scathing column about how George Stephanopolous is in deep doo doo as well as Charlie Gibson.

Ms. Tucker was also silent about Rev. Wright.

Grand Forks

July 21st, 2010
8:30 am

Proof that left wingers have absolutely no idea about how the economy works. A buffoon in Detroit, a city that has gone completely downhill because of democrats and unions, says that unemployment creates jobs. The great thing about idiots like him is the fact that right wingers like me will pass this article along for every one to glance at.

“Extending unemployment will help create jobs”

http://detnews.com/article/20100721/OPINION03/7210319/1008/OPINION01/Extending-unemployment-will-help-create-jobs

charles

July 21st, 2010
8:51 am

Kyle- Take note that Handel won Forsyth County (GA-9) by over 1,000 votes. So, does a GA-9 runoff really favor Deal? I say no.

Susan

July 21st, 2010
9:04 am

Actually, Karen Handel missed only one debate as she should behind her ethical beliefs. And she WON the county that she did not debate in! Karen represents the strong, ethical leader this state so DESPERATELY needs. She will fight for Georgians, she has great ideas to jump start our economy. If voters are tired of politics as usual, then they will get behind her.
And how sickeningly sweet is it that Graves and Deal have demonstrated “I’ll wash your back, you wash mine”. The template of the good ole boys club that everyone “says” they are so tired of.
We all have a choice here….. do you want leadership that cares about you? then vote for Karen Handel. If you want leadership that cares about nothing more than their own political career, then vote for Deal.

Aquagirl

July 21st, 2010
9:07 am

Your prediction last night was good, Kyle, but I can’t see this one. Karen Handel was the least conservative of the field. She might have at one point—gasp—talked to gay people like they are human beings! She refused to take the Georgia Right To Life Taliban Oath, where getting raped by your father means squeezing the baby out of your 13 year old birth canal, no exceptions! She didn’t swear to take on CommiePinkoObama, tolerate creepy Ray McBerry’s relationship with an adolescent girl, promise concentration camps for illegals, or engage in the general right-wing craziness until forced to do so.

You’d think other Republicans would take note.

KA

July 21st, 2010
9:22 am

Ah, but she did take the Republican pledge, proving that she’ll toe the party line when it comes time. I refuse to vote for people who take that pledge and give up any pretense of thinking or analyzing whether a law is good or bad, just follow the rule of the party. BS.

The Aristorcrat

July 21st, 2010
9:22 am

The Aristocrat would like to throw his proverbial hat into the ring as a third party candidate stumping on the platform of fiscal conservatism and liberal social policy. The Aristocrat will strive to keep the government out of your wallet and your bedroom.

Pete

July 21st, 2010
9:27 am

Kyle, I hope you will discuss the fact that Deal has ethical problems and was named one of the 15 most corrupt members of Congress. Is this the kind of person we want as Governor?

David A. Staples

July 21st, 2010
9:44 am

Pete – no, this is the kind of person we want as Governor – John Monds – http://www.VoteMonds.com

tim

July 21st, 2010
9:44 am

Please Georgia, do not vote for the GED candidate. Is Handel really the best this state has to offer. She’s probably alot closer to the worst than the best.

StJ

July 21st, 2010
9:58 am

Who would have thought Ox would fall from the lead (in polls) to 4th?? Oh, right…because polls don’t matter (maybe ethics do). :)

SOWEGA

July 21st, 2010
10:02 am

Aquagirl – Very good observation. I agree completely.

Grand Forks

July 21st, 2010
10:07 am

“She refused to take the Georgia Right To Life Taliban Oath, where getting raped by your father means squeezing the baby out of your 13 year old birth canal, no exceptions!”

Gotta love left wing logic: Robert Byrd=not racist, Tea Party=racist, Afghan Taliban=good, Pro-lifers=evil, Black Panthers=not racist, Baptists=killers, Abortion=not killing babies……

Better question: How many cases of incest have there been in GA in the past year?

Grand Forks

July 21st, 2010
10:10 am

“Is Handel really the best this state has to offer.”

She’s better than anything Illinois, NY or Michigan has to offer. And better yet, she’s not going to federal prison like Illinois ex-governor. Oh, and she’s not going to have to resign because she screwed prostitutes like NY’s ex-gov.

Grand Forks

July 21st, 2010
10:11 am

“I refuse to vote for people who take that pledge and give up any pretense of thinking or analyzing whether a law is good or bad, just follow the rule of the party.”

So why did you vote for Obama?

Grand Forks

July 21st, 2010
10:13 am

“promise concentration camps for illegals”

The last person in the US to put people in concentration camps was a Democrat. His name was FDR.

I guess left wingers don’t know their own history.

miles

July 21st, 2010
10:20 am

HANDEL has pledged to let folks who have no health insurance die…WWJD?

Rgr Rob

July 21st, 2010
10:48 am

As an active duty member of our Armed Forces, I am tired of the less than courageous republicans continuing to wrap themselves with the American Flag and stating how patriotic they are! Very few republican candidates have served in the Military but they all campaign on how much they love and support the Military. They continually say we served in other ways but they consistently lack the courage it takes to defend America. Republicans, stop cheering for me and join me if you have the intestinal fortitude. Don’t wave the American flag if you lack the courage to defend it

dougmo2

July 21st, 2010
10:55 am

The only question I have is will either candidate allow Sunday liquor sales? The one who says yes has my vote.

CJ

July 21st, 2010
10:58 am

I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that Deal wins the nomination. No guarantees, but I sense that Oxendine and Johnson supporters are more likely to turn to Deal, despite Mama Grizzly’s endorsement for Handel.

Monroe Burbank

July 21st, 2010
11:03 am

Miles,

WWJD? Jesus was a liberal. He cared about everybody, especially the sick and poor.

Churchill's MOM

July 21st, 2010
11:12 am

I was hoping for a Chapman / Handel run off. As 1 of the 15 most corrupt Washington congressmen, Deal is by far the MOST CORRUPT of the Corrupt 3. I will be working for a honest woman over that corrupt Washington lawyer Deal.

Williebkind

July 21st, 2010
11:19 am

“The fact that the air-head Palin stumped for Handel merely proves my point.”

You declaring Palin an air-head does prove you are not very informed. Is that your point. Sarah has clout and the character we the people like. I know you like the characters from chicago.

Mike

July 21st, 2010
11:19 am

For the record, I voted for Karen Handel, I will again in three weeks, and I’m urging everyone to vote for her in the run-off.

But I’m more interested in Kyle’s take on the Oxendine meltdown. How much of it can we pin on his barely anonymous attack mailers?

miles

July 21st, 2010
11:19 am

CHURCHILLS MOM

the conservative christians call that socialism…yet they think nothing of giving billions of our tax dollars to other countries…

miles

July 21st, 2010
11:20 am

williebkind

yeah i like the folks from chicago…so what

Williebkind

July 21st, 2010
11:23 am

miles

July 21st, 2010
11:19 am
What are you talking about? Is this a drive by attempt.

The Austrian Brotherhood

July 21st, 2010
11:25 am

Oh. So Jesus was a pretentious, controlling a-hole. Thanks for the wisdom. I’ll be sure and steer clear of him. Can’t stand those types of busy-body know-it-all hypocrites.

songbird

July 21st, 2010
11:26 am

I will vote for Handel in the runoff and then for Barnes in the general. I voted for Handel yesterday to get rid of the male candidates. I was sick of their negative ads. I would vote for Monds but I don’t think he can win so I don’t want to waste my vote and end up for Handel as governor for the next 8 years. This state can’t take 8 more years of total Repub rule. There won’t be anything left of this state if that happens.

Williebkind

July 21st, 2010
11:31 am

miles

July 21st, 2010
11:20 am
You like the characters from chicago who are mostly gangsters of some sort. I will stick to Grizzly mom. She feels more American than a gangster.

Kyle Wingfield

July 21st, 2010
11:32 am

CJ: I think you’re right about your prediction.

Mike: I think Ox’s fate was sealed before that mailer. He was surviving on name ID for months…when voters started to pay attention, most of them liked the other candidates better.

Voting

July 21st, 2010
11:33 am

If Deal wins I will vote for Barnes, if Handel wins I will vote for her over Barnes. What’s the matter people, afraid that a woman will show up a man. Afraid that a woman can turn the state of Georgia around. And if there is too much mud slinging and not enough talk about the issues, I will definitely vote for Barnes. For once I would love to see exactly what those running for office stand for not what mud they can throw about their opponents.

Grand Forks

July 21st, 2010
11:34 am

“Jesus was a liberal. He cared about everybody, especially the sick and poor.’

Huh, so Jesus was for killing innocent babies, gay sex and stealing money?

Skip

July 21st, 2010
11:36 am

Palin killed McSames chances, who sho going to put away next?

Grand Forks

July 21st, 2010
11:38 am

miles

Why do you lie so much?

Grand Forks

July 21st, 2010
11:39 am

“Palin killed McSames chances, who sho going to put away next?”

Nothing like DNC talking points. If she’s so bad then why do her endorsed candidates win?

Grand Forks

July 21st, 2010
11:41 am

“HANDEL has pledged to let folks who have no health insurance die”

miles lied about getting shot.

miles

July 21st, 2010
11:45 am

GRAND FORKS

what do u think should happen to help the uninsured?..should they get medical care or not

miles

July 21st, 2010
11:46 am

graqnd forks

jesus was for letting folks die because theyre poor?…like the conservatives will let happen

Grand Forks

July 21st, 2010
11:49 am

“what do u think should happen to help the uninsured?”

Which uninsured? The people who have been laid off or the illegals who should not be here in the first place?

Grand Forks

July 21st, 2010
11:49 am

“jesus was for letting folks die because theyre poor?…like the conservatives will let happen”

miles, why do you lie so much?

Grand Forks

July 21st, 2010
11:50 am

miles

Better question: Where are the jobs Obama promised back in 2008?

Grand Forks

July 21st, 2010
11:51 am

miles

By the way, people who don’t have health insurance don’t just die. Some people choose not to have it. Health care is not a right.

Grand Forks

July 21st, 2010
11:52 am

Awe, poor little Obama.

A Year After Honeymoon Ends, Whites, Men and Independents Desert Obama

It was a year ago this month that President Barack Obama began losing voters. In the 12 months since, he has had legislative victories that appear – especially in the case of health care – to have cost him large amounts of both political capital and political support.

A comparison of the public’s views of him then and now tells us a great deal about the shape of American politics and how difficult it is for any president, even one as politically gifted as Barack Obama, to surmount the nation’s deep political and ideological divisions.

http://blogs.wsj.com/capitaljournal/2010/07/21/a-year-after-honeymoon-ends-whites-men-and-independents-desert-obama/

Ronin

July 21st, 2010
11:52 am

If Deal defeats Handel, (which I doubt will happen) I’ll vote for Barnes.
Yes, the Ox’s fate was sealed by his on camp. The more he spoke, the less people liked what they heard.

Grand Forks

July 21st, 2010
11:53 am

HAHAHAHAAHAHAHAAH

AL GORE SEX SCANDAL SHOCKER POLICE INVESTIGATE TWO MORE

The ENQUIRER reports in an exclusive bombshell exclusive that police have investigated charges from TWO MORE WOMEN who claimed they were abused by former VP AL GORE!

The allegations come hot on the heels of an ongoing Portland, Ore., police investigation that reopened after The ENQUIRER exclusively revealed accusations by a licensed massage therapist who says Gore groped her in 2006.