Sarah Palin sets off a ‘mama grizzly’ war in the GOP race for governor

Sarah Palin and GOP women have apparently given Karen Handel the boost she needs to survive on Tuesday — and her male rivals know it.

From a Saturday campaign summary by the Associated Press:

The fireworks were in the GOP race, where a recent poll showed state insurance commissioner John Oxendine, former secretary of state Karen Handel and ex-U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal battling for an expected runoff.

Handel accused Deal of sexism by pointing to a press release from his campaign saying that “real women” support his campaign. Handel said that attacked her own female supporters, including her most prominent backer: former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

“That just really disappointing,” Handel told The Associated Press.
Asked if the attack was sexist Handel said, “of course it is.”

Deal called the claim “absurd” and said he was simply using campaign branding — the word “real” — he’s adopted since the election began. His campaign slogan is “Deal. Real.”

“That certainly was not meant to impugn anybody,” Deal said.

In fact, Deal has a reason to promote himself as female-friendly.

The Georgia Newspaper Partnership poll out today gives Handel a lead of 29 percent, but that lead zooms to 34 percent among women – an advantage that stands right at the margin of error of plus-or-minus 5 percent.

Handel also shows a slightly smaller, but corresponding deficit among male voters.

Deal, state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, and former state senator Eric Johnson of Savannah all show a certain amount of leakage in their support from Republican women.

Though the overall percentages in the GOP contest are different, the same trend can be seen in an InsiderAdvantage/Channel 2 Action News poll released on Friday.

The gender gap had already shown itself, but Palin endorsement of Handel last Monday appears to have given it more strength.

One overt sign that Handel intends to play to this gap in a runoff can be found in this mailer sent out by her campaign last week, which details the top four candidates’ positions on abortion.

She lists Oxendine, Deal and Johnson as “pro-life, no exceptions” – which is not entirely accurate. The three men acknowledge exceptions for pregnancies that threaten the life of the mother – the position of Georgia Right to Life, which has endorsed them.

Handel, who was not endorsed by GRTL, lists her own position as “pro-life, with exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother.”

As the weekend closed, a rival campaign strategist wondered out loud why Handel would expose herself to charges of being soft on abortion.

But in a female-oriented runoff, it would be interesting to see what polls have to say about the attitude of GOP women on that topic – and what role it might play, should Handel survive Tuesday.

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134 comments Add your comment


July 18th, 2010
11:14 am

Palin needs to go head to head against Obama..

we need change

Next door neighbor

July 18th, 2010
11:27 am

Sarah Palin demonstrates just how unqualified she is for any higher office in this short video about Alaska and Russia:

T Knight

July 18th, 2010
11:29 am

Isn’t it pathetic how 2 former democrats are attacking a true republican woman? Very telling of the kind of men they are in life. Beyond whether any woman does or doesn’t like Sarah Palin, this type of vitriolic ranting is shameful. It is the very same thing we’ve seen from democrats, and even RINO’s seeking to destroy the republican party.

I for one am not amused….. I will hold them accountable at the ballot box…..

Vote Karen Handel July 20th


July 18th, 2010
11:40 am

Maybe bring back W


July 18th, 2010
11:45 am

I have no time for Palin. She is unqualified to be President, and she and her family belong on the Jerry Springer Show, not in the White House. However, Ms. Handel is the only Republican who is not a crook or a kook, so she is the only viable choice. On this one, Palin got it right.

This is Mrs.Normain Maine

July 18th, 2010
11:56 am

Karen Handel barely graduated high school! I cannot believe this woman is a serious contender for governor although her low educational level is representative of her constituents. If I didn’t have enough reasons to despise Palin, I now have the ultimate reason. Who is she to meddle in the affairs of our state?

Rick Patel

July 18th, 2010
12:06 pm

It would be so great if Sensational Sarah Palin was instrumental in helping to elect female Governors in Georgia & South Carolina. Maybe it’s a good year to be a fearless, feisty, fashionable feminist freedom fighter.

retired engineer

July 18th, 2010
12:11 pm

“Palin needs to go head to head against Obama. We need change.”

Yes, but she doesn’t have even two cents to offer (or should that be sense?).

The More You Know...

July 18th, 2010
12:28 pm

I think it’s easy for the men in the race – and the MALE president of GRTL – to say “No Exceptions” – because they will never be in that situation. Exceptions for rape and incest account for a small fraction of abortions. The larger question: do we want leaders who think in black & white soundbites on complex moral issues?


July 18th, 2010
12:31 pm

and we wonder why ga ranks so low educationally?

Chris Murphy, Atlanta, GA

July 18th, 2010
12:37 pm

I don’t like Handel, as a candidate; that being said, she’s been the most honest, outspoken and has not been afraid to swing her elbows at the other Repubs, showing them all to be incredibly light weight.

makes sense

July 18th, 2010
12:48 pm

Is there any chance that the real reason You Betcha doesn’t embrace the birthers is that she doesn’t want Obama supporters to retaliate and ask for the long form of Trigg’s birth certificate?

Handel is Incompetent

July 18th, 2010
1:08 pm

Karen Handel? Completely incompetent, and her track record as SOS confirms it.

Watch this segment that aired on WMAZ in Macon almost a year ago, regarding a decision that Karen Handel refused to make as SOS, and resigned before making. This story is about to become common knowledge throughout GA politics:

And we want to make this person Governor. Ha!


July 18th, 2010
1:08 pm

Damn all these crooked politicians!

Charles McNider

July 18th, 2010
1:11 pm

I am surprised that Ms. Palin endorsed the most liberal Republican candidate. I am not a fan in general of politicians that reinvent themselves for the next race. It did not work for Romney and I hope it does not work for Handel.

Deal has his faults, but he supports the Fair Tax, is pro-life, opposes illegal immigration, and is a true conservative. I am voting for him.

Pork Chop

July 18th, 2010
1:15 pm

First things first: go Karen!

Now, for those of you who think Palin unqualified to be President: by virtue of the fact that she is truly a U.S. citizen (born in the U.S.), has attained the age specified and is not disqualified by criminal conviction – she is certainly qualified to become the President if the elctorate is so inclined. Perhaps she is not of the Harvard elite and is not your cup of tea, but she is qualified. Or mayhaps, you prefer “Hope” and “Change you can believe in”? I submit that she would at least try to do what is best for this country – and not what is best for the world of Muslims. I further believe that almost anyone would be better at the job than the current resident of the Whitehouse – and those of his ilk.

Rafe Hollister

July 18th, 2010
1:24 pm

retired engineer: In your mind she may not be the brightest bulb on the planet, but she has demonstrated that she could efficiently operate a city and a state. Barry has proven that he talks a good game but wouldn’t stay in business two days if he ran a lemonade stand. I don’t think Barry would do well matching wits with Sarah. She may not be that bright but Barry’s not much competition.

On the election, just pick the one who will hurt us the least.

Galloway an "Insider"?

July 18th, 2010
1:27 pm

Galloway an “Insider”? HA HA HA HA. Try “partisan hack”. Go to The Sunday Paper and read the REAL story about Chief Turner’s nomination. Unlike the partisan hack Galloway, even though Stephanie Ramage endorsed Reed, she had the guts to print the story that Galloway obviously doesn’t have.

GOP Dawg

July 18th, 2010
1:29 pm

Amen on the ilk! I have not decided on our Gov. race yet. Still need more Info.

Right is Wrong

July 18th, 2010
1:30 pm

Keep talking, Tea Bag Barbie. She isn’t even qualified to run a dishwasher…and anyone with at least one brainwave realizes that.

Setting the bar low

July 18th, 2010
1:32 pm

I see Pork Chop thinks any U.S. citizen of age who has no disqualifying criminal history is “qualified” to be president. But Pork Chop is right about one thing.

Palin would do what she thinks is right, even if that meant singing “Onward Christian Soldiers” while giving the nuclear launch codes, with First Dude tooling around the Oval Office in his snowmobile shouting “Praise Jesus, it’s Armageddon time!”

Fun times ahead for America!


July 18th, 2010
1:33 pm

No Bid Deal & The Ox have law degrees but are crooks, I’ll vote for a honest woman like Handel without a degree in CORRUPTION.

Bob in Gainesville

July 18th, 2010
1:39 pm

All I can say is Deal is a crook, everyone up in his old district knows it. Deal says he will get rid of the illegals, come up here to Gainesville & see what a good job he did in getting rid of illegals, we are over run with them because Deal’s big buck supporters want illegals they can pay minimum.


July 18th, 2010
1:40 pm

Republicans, seriously, ask yourselves where are the solutions to Georgia’s problems that any of the Republicans running for governor are offering other than saying Obama bad. I’m not Obama. “stood up to Obama Care,” “liberal agenda,” “Reid, Pelosi, Obama out of control.” Force the Republican candidates to offer solutions. They already know that you don’t like Obama; that’s a given. Where are the solutions? Last time I checked neither Mr. Obama nor Mr. Reid nor Ms. Pelosi are on the ballot for any political office in Georgia.


July 18th, 2010
1:52 pm

Handel has shown enough achievement during life to negate the need for a college education. Several of my lawyer friends never graduated college but went to law school before the Bar required both a law degree and an undergraduate degree. And I’m a liberal democrat who doesn’t vote for repukes, but I hate the denigration of education and its concomitant elevated status.


July 18th, 2010
1:53 pm

Sarah Palin needs to take care of her own family before she starts lecturing Georgia Republicans on how to take care of theirs.


July 18th, 2010
2:02 pm

I am enjoying watching traditional GOP sexism turn on itself, two women are gonna take the good ‘ole boys to the woodshed. Lovin’ every minute of it.

The last time I voted for a Republican was Bush I (twice), but if Karen gets the Republican nomination for governor, she will get my vote.

Tyler Durden

July 18th, 2010
2:02 pm

Wow. Just reading input from GOP supporters makes me feel smarter and more balanced. You guys should figure out how to bottle yourselves. You’d make a mint :-)

Chuck Allison

July 18th, 2010
2:20 pm

Either Palin or Handel have more useful experience than a person whose only leadership experience was as a “community organizer.” Is that a slap against all “community organizers”? It sure is. The ACORN never falls far from the election fraud.


July 18th, 2010
2:21 pm

I suppose all these guys probably hate that women have the right to vote. They would love to turn back the hands of time on this one.


July 18th, 2010
2:32 pm

This thing is backfiring on Handel, Deal and The Ox. Almost everyone I’ve talked to this weekend is now at least considering Johnson. It’s very possible we could end up with all 4 candidates pulling in the 20%’s

John K

July 18th, 2010
2:34 pm

What is all this “pro-life with the exception of….” b.s.? If you have an exception, you’re just saying you feel you have the right to make the choice for others.

Bob in Gainesville

July 18th, 2010
2:35 pm

Handel vs Johnson sounds good to me..

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

July 18th, 2010
2:50 pm

Individual sovereignty is about making choices for oneself. Those opposed to it aren’t Americans but traitors serving the Roman Anti-Christ’s “Fifth Column” and pedophile priesthood.

Vote Democrat


July 18th, 2010
2:51 pm

Who cares about endorsements? Some people are so pathetic that they need someone to tell them who to vote for.


July 18th, 2010
2:51 pm

Vote for Palin! We need change alright! She is smarter than the others that is why some speak bad comments about her! I will vote Out Obama1st term Prez) and I will campaigne for Palin


July 18th, 2010
2:52 pm

So Palin, who is against any abortion for any reason, endorses the female candidate who believes in exceptions, as do the male candidates? And then, said female lies about the men’s positions to gain votes from females? Ever since McCain held Palin up as the next Hillary (HAHAHA!) the Republican women in this country have gone nuts. They think Bachmann and Haley, Handel and Fiorino are God’s answer to the problems of the country. Sorry, folks, but the lack of a college degree (or two) DOES mean something. It means that a person has no empathy for those not like her, as we see with Sarah frequently, and have ideas that are set in stone because they are not flexible enough mentally to even consider another opinion. If you want a bunch of female Bushes in office, go for it, but I suspect these gals and their radical viewpoints will not make it through November.


July 18th, 2010
3:14 pm

Oxendine and Deal are crooks, plain and simple. Johnson is a kook who can be a loose cannon. Handel is the only choice. So what if she doesn’t have a college degree? Look at the horrible mess the so-called educated men have gotten us in!

[...] GOP-Gov: Sarah Palin sets off a ‘mama grizzly’ war in the GOP race for governor [...]

Right is Wrong

July 18th, 2010
3:32 pm

Norma, Sarah Palin is an idiot. Go bake a cake or something.


July 18th, 2010
3:51 pm

Who cares what Handel’s educational background is. Harry Truman didn’t go to college.

Bush & Obama went to Harvard. Look at the great job they’ve done !


July 18th, 2010
3:51 pm

Yeah, Norma. People say bad things about Palin because she is “smarter” than all the others. It has nothing to do with the fact that her family is full of publicity seeking idiots. Or that she’s not even popular in her own state after leaving the governorship early so that she can make money. Or that she lacks expertise in pretty much every substantive issue that isn’t gun rights or abortion. Or that she embarrasses herself in interviews with her lack of knowledge on important topics. Or……

Deal is a crook

July 18th, 2010
3:53 pm

Deal makes himself richer off of the tax payers. He called people Ghetto Grandmothers, and now says Handel isn’t a real women.

We don’t need the big spending do nothing congressman as Governor of Georgia.

This is Norman Maine

July 18th, 2010
3:55 pm

Jim, you posted this as if Palin’s endorsement put Handel in the lead but I don’t think it is no small coincidence that after you posted Handel’s interview with Doug Richards about gay marriage she “surged” to a lead in the polls. She comes out as a gay-hating bigot and suddenly Georgia loves her. That sounds about right for this state. I’m surprised that Eric Johnson isn’t in second place after his announcement that he supports concentration camps for undocumented immigrants. Maybe they just didn’t hear him…..yet. So on primary day, it really be just a matter of who the Republican electorate is hating most that day. Mexican immigrants?(Johnson) Gays?(Handel) Poor people (Oxendine) Blacks?(all candidates)


July 18th, 2010
3:56 pm

Karen, honey; fetch ‘ol Roy a lemon for his ice water.

This ‘ol country lawyer, defender of the weak and feebleminded, will open up a can of whoopass on my Republican opponent.

With the unions in my pocket, there will be some payback once I get back in the governor’s mansion. Not only has President Obama promised me much-needed stimulus money for Georgia, but I’ve got a new state flag in mind.

Palin LOL

July 18th, 2010
3:58 pm

Matt Taibbi wrote a dead on editorial about the phenomenon that is Sarah Palin. I regard to the “Mama Grizzly” stuff (whatever that could possibly mean), he says that Palin’s magic is that she reduces “political debate” to nothing more than stroking the idiotic fantasies that Middle America has about themselves. It is embarrassing that Georgia is a state that is obviously filled with people who fall for that nonsense, with people who are too ignorant to know that she is completely unqualified or to even give a darn. “She’s one of us, let’s elect her President”. Sarah Palin has successfully turned American politics into American Idol.

J.R. Ewing

July 18th, 2010
3:59 pm

Don’t ever trust a lawyer named Barnes !

Impervious Pearl

July 18th, 2010
4:00 pm

As the Secretary of State, Karen Handel did nothing, so her record speaks for itself. While I am not concerned with her education level, she apparently is, as she has a large chip on her shoulder because she is not a college graduate. Her staff from every position she has ever held has said she is mean, bitter, unprepared, untruthful and incompetent. Everyone cannot be wrong. I watched the debates and was appalled at her behavior. She came across as hard, bitter and not truthful. As a female Republican, I find it offensive that she would stoop to such tactics, as she has berated her opponents for the same tactics. I will not say who I am endorsing, but I will say it will not be Mrs. Handel.

Bob in Winder

July 18th, 2010
4:16 pm

Deal, Ox, & Johnson are crooks, Handel is not.. Hard decision, my vote goes to Handel.

Bob in Gainesville

July 18th, 2010
4:19 pm

Deal has taken advantage of the trust in my district long enough, time for Real Steal Deal to go, I’ll be voting for Handel Tuesday.