Republican runoff themes: ‘True conservative’ v. ‘next-generation’

For two people in the governor’s race, Wednesday morning became just another sleepless day of campaigning.

Karen Handel and Nathan Deal very quickly laid out the themes of their three-week encore in the GOP primary.

My early morning AJC colleagues noted this from the Deal appearance on Channel 2 Action News, who is quickly attempting to claim the mantle of “true conservative:”

For his part, Deal touted his Georgia Right to Life endorsement and predicted he’ll have the backing of former Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine and former state Sen. Eric Johnson, his unsuccessful primary opponents.

Karen Handel answered him on Fox5:

“Nathan Deal’s been in politics his entire life. We need next-generation, fresh thinking for this state.”

So age will be at least a subliminal message. And the “true conservative” part? Said Handel:

That kind of makes me laugh. That, coming from a former Clinton Democrat who became a Republican when it became politically expedient for him?”

If you’re a Republican, you’re not looking forward to three more weeks of tough infighting.

But on the bright side, the 678,880 ballots cast in the GOP primary for governor was a turnout, number-crunchers assure us.

The 392,472 who voted in the Democratic primary numbered about 90,000 less than the 482,117 who showed up for the Mark Taylor/Cathy Cox dance four years ago.

In other words, Republicans had a 2-to-1 edge in total ballots cast, which is why you won’t hear Democrat Roy Barnes talk much about party identification.

By one count – and we haven’t verified it yet – Handel finished first or second in 133 counties; Deal finished first or second in 57.

At, we’ve got a good map showing the county-by-county spread. Without question, Handel had the larger footprint on Tuesday.

On the Democratic side, Barnes won 157 counties. House Minority Leader DuBose Porter of Dublin won his home county of Laurens, and neighboring Johnson County.

Other runoffs will play into the Aug. 10 finale in the GOP race for governor.

Fortunately for Deal, Tom Graves missed escaping a runoff in the 9th District congressional contest for a few hundred votes.

Fortunately for Handel, Sam Olens of Cobb County has landed in a runoff against Preston Smith of Rome in the GOP race for attorney general. Handel had a better than 2-to-1 edge over deal in Cobb last night.

Handel’s race to the top of Tuesday’s Republican vote was fueled by an endorsement by Sarah Palin, the 2008 Republican nominee for vice president.

Palin’s entry into the Georgia race for governor has produced some rumblings, as mentioned this morning.

But in New Hampshire, where Palin on Monday made a pick in that state’s U.S. Senate race, the push-back was much stronger. The endorsement produced a front-page condemnation written by the publisher of the New Hampshire Union Leader:

But former Gov. Palin isn’t making these endorsements because, as she claims, she has spent time in New Hampshire and thus knows that the people here are a lot like Alaskans.

She spent a few hours here on one day during the 2008 Presidential election. That’s still more time than she spent getting to know [Kelly] Ayotte, but it takes quite a bit longer to know New Hampshire.

A word of advice for supporters of Messrs. Bender, Binnie, Lamontagne and Hodes (sounds like a law firm, doesn’t it?): Don’t fret over what a “Mama Grizzly” from Alaska does. Right now, Granite Staters have more to worry about in keeping bears away from bird feeders.

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48 comments Add your comment


July 21st, 2010
11:34 am

I never understood why people under estimated Karen Handel. The Palin endorsement notwithstanding, and a distraction at most, Handel was the most main stream candidate and the best bet to give Barnes competition. She’ll no doubt downplay the Palin card while focusing on her experience as an administrator. Georgia needs someone to get things done, not necessarily the “truest conservative”.

David Staples

July 21st, 2010
11:51 am

And for all the Republicans who are disappointed by the results from yesterday, may I suggest John Monds –


July 21st, 2010
12:02 pm

I am just surprised there are over a quarter of a million Georgia voters who care so little about teachers that they would actually cast a vote for Roy Barnes!

John Galt

July 21st, 2010
12:06 pm

More than a quarter of a million, Vince, because a vote for Ms. Luv Handles is a vote for Roy Barnes.

Jon Lester

July 21st, 2010
12:17 pm

If you’ve read “1984″ then you’ll really appreciate the documentary, “Orwell Rolls in His Grave,” and after seeing it, you’ll always be more skeptical of those who try to play off key words and phrases without elaborating on any actual plan. Sort of the same as the way words like “turbo” and “extreme” have been recklessly tacked on to just about everything available for sale in recent years.

Noo Raw Deal, Noooo King Roy

July 21st, 2010
12:20 pm

new shorter name but


Real Questions

July 21st, 2010
12:28 pm

-How many people has Palin endorsed this cycle?
-How many of these endorsements were women and how many were men?
-Which of these endorsements does Palin feel most strongly about?
-How long has Palin known Handel?
-What was Palin’s source of background information on Handel and was it accurate?

Bad Deal

July 21st, 2010
12:40 pm

Thfere is nothing real about Mr. Deal, he is a party-switching opportunist who only looks out for himself.

Oh Well

July 21st, 2010
12:51 pm

endorsements don’t matter…

what a candidate has to offer DOES!

I sincerely hope after the run-off (if Handel wins), that people will start to really ask her what her plans are for this state…
you know, beyond vapid sound bites…

Republicans for Roy Barnes

July 21st, 2010
12:57 pm

I am a republican and I am switching my vote to Roy Barnes.
Sarah Palin need to stay out of Georgia election.
Karen Handel lost my vote

Democrats for Karen Handel

July 21st, 2010
1:18 pm

I am a Democrat and I am switching my vote to Karen Handel. I didn’t think the Repubs would be smart enough to nominate a tough effective administrator like her. King Roy lost my vote.

Disavantaged Insider

July 21st, 2010
1:40 pm

I’m a Democrat who will vote for Karen in the run-off because Roy will wipe the floor with her sanctimony. However, in light of her endorsement by Miss Alaska, I would like for Handel to promise that she too will resign after two years in office. I think that would be a really good selling point for her.

[...] and Barnes’ events, here. Jim Galloway has more on how the two Republican candidates are framing their campaigns. After the jump, a quick rundown on other [...]

True Republican

July 21st, 2010
1:55 pm

Actually “AlphaDog” every Rasmussen poll has shown that in a General Election Nathan Deal is the strongest choice for the GOP to beat Barnes. I predict you will see Handel’s popularity dwindle now that she has to appear at the debates and talk about the issue now that she cannot use Ray McBarry as an excuse not to participate. He lack of real experience and education on the issues will be apparent when up against skilled speakers such as Barnes and Deal. Georgia is a strongly conservative state as you can tell in the GOP primary as over 60% of the votes we placed for far right conservatives while she received 30% for being more moderate. Now that that 60% will not be split between 7 canidates I predict a landslide for Deal.

Vinings Guy

July 21st, 2010
2:41 pm

I am taking Deal by default. Just read the House report and its mild compared to Handel’s original claim, now clarified, that she was “deputy chief of staff” in the Bush White House. Roy is entertaining, but he is all about Roy and keeping his plaintiff’s law practice churning. Here is the Deal link to the House report. You can form your own judgment as to how bad it is to say you are an “owner” and not a “corp secretary” or to characterize income as wages, and not dividends, or to have meetings about a business you have had for twenty years. Not perfect but very misstated by the media and Ms. Handel. (Note: Roy would have gotten him off Scot free with a plaque if he had been hired to help on this.)


July 21st, 2010
2:44 pm

To all the Handel bashers. If you would have attended several of the GOP events (all over the State) during the past months, you could have seen and heard Karen’s clear vision for the state. From the economy to streamlining government, she has an all points program laid out.
If all you know is sound bites, then yes King Rat may well be your candidate. If you have children, be sure to tell them that your vote will cost them dearly.
Ask a school teacher about what happened to their retirement plans.

Republicans for Roy Barnes

July 21st, 2010
2:55 pm

Why the republicans are saying deomcrates for Handel on here.
I was for Handel until Sarah Palin jump in on the race. Sarah Palin is going make Handel lose the election.


July 21st, 2010
4:05 pm

Palin and Romney aren’t from around here; who are they to endorse a governor for Georgia. What does Sarah Palin know about Georgia? I’ll tell you….. absolutely NOTHING.

gop themes

July 21st, 2010
4:05 pm

god, guns, gays, mexicans and taxes….yee-haw!

Enough is Enough

July 21st, 2010
4:07 pm

Republicans for Roy Barnes,
Using your logic, let me guess, you voted for Obama too because Oprah gave her endorsement. Endorsements don’t actually change what a candidate is about. I think you are actually probably from the Oxendine camp, still smarting over the loss and trying to blame Sarah Palin.


July 21st, 2010
4:19 pm

how about stupid versus even more stupid, as a GOP motto. Or both of them, Handel and Deal, could be described as “True idiots”. Then again, I haven’t known any GOP party member that was smarter than a 2nd grader.


July 21st, 2010
4:23 pm

Only in Georgia, would someone without a college education be seriously considered for governor…


July 21st, 2010
4:27 pm

after good ole’ Sonny how can anyone in this state vote Repube? It just amazes me! 10%+ unemployment and you are going to vote in another Repube? GA is the laughing stock of civilized states – no alcohol sales on Sunday & people are still debating the abortion issue (the Supreme Court settled that one a few years ago folks!)….maybe Deal-io will pray on the steps of the State headquarters that unemployment goes down & jobs return to the state the same way Sonny Boy prayed for rain!!! Gimme a freakin break people!

Cobb GOP

July 21st, 2010
4:32 pm

I gots my GED an gonna be govenor


July 21st, 2010
4:43 pm

As I ponder our current congressman – Hank Johnson – and our previous – Cynthia McKinney – and our president and our senate majority leader, et al – I can see how much good a college degree does.

Enough is Enough

July 21st, 2010
4:48 pm

Gman – so I guess someone successful like Bill Gates (who has no college degree) would not be qualified for governor under your rules? Maybe Georgia is going to join the 21st century and elect a woman for the first time.

Buffaloerik, my how you conveniently forget – Sonny was a life long democrat, until a year or two before he decided to run for governor. So I don’t think you can blame on the problems of the world on the one psuedo republican governor we have had since Reconstruction, when you have had goobers like Jimmy Carter and Roy Barnes leading the state.

Metro Coach

July 21st, 2010
4:50 pm

buffalo…the entire nation is still debating the abortion issue, and alcohol sales on Sundays are a county and city issue, the state does not have a law banning them. Thanks for showing us the definition of ignorant though.

Cobb GOP- Yeah, we know Ivy League education is the way to go because all those Harvard degrees in Washington are doing a great job running the country…..

Karen "fat ass" Handel does not have a college degree!!!

July 21st, 2010
4:52 pm

Karen “fat ass” Handel does not have a college degree!!! Only ignorant right wing true conservative Tea party Georgians would elect someone to office without an formal education

Enough is Enough

July 21st, 2010
5:02 pm

KFAHDNHACD – wow, by the pissy, juvenile tone of your comments, and the ignorant stereotyping, I can only assume your formal education must have come from an online university.

Rob Vinson

July 21st, 2010
5:07 pm

Where is “Go Ox” now? I figure he would posit about what went wrong…

Jon boy

July 21st, 2010
5:23 pm

Notice Tom Price, a great conservative in the House, has endorsed Karen Handel….. he observed Deal in the Congress so that tells me a lot… I did not vote for Handel the first time but I am concerned with the good ole boy type of Mr Deal…. a fresh approach and from a get it done type is worth looking at …


July 21st, 2010
5:26 pm

How many Georgians died bringing the right to vote to Iraq? It is an insult to their memory to elect a woman who did her utmost to take away honest citizens’ right to vote in this state.


July 21st, 2010
5:26 pm

I was wondering about Go Ox myself, poor fella. Not often I feel sorry for someone on these blogs. What a flameout by his candidate.

KFAHDNHACD must have attended college and never left the frat house. How very attractive.


July 21st, 2010
5:28 pm

One shrill voice out of the race–the Ox. Now for the next one–Mrs. Handel.
Deal will be easier on the ears for the next four years!

Cecil Phudpucker

July 21st, 2010
5:30 pm

Handle jeers at Deal for being an ex-Democrat. Uh, does she belch similar scorn toward her daddy, Sonny-boy Perdue? He used to be a dimmycrat. And, how does she feel about the saint godlike GOP figure of modern times, one Ronnie Reagan? He was an FDR Democrat before he switched sides and became gov. of CA. (Where, BTW, he signed an abortion law and raised taxes by a billion bucks.) I would bet that Handle, like her queen Palin, is 100% ignorant of history.

Bawney Fwank

July 21st, 2010
5:34 pm

“Karen “fat ass” Handel does not have a college degree!!!
Karen “fat ass” Handel does not have a college degree!!! Only ignorant right wing true conservative Tea party Georgians would elect someone to office without an formal education”

That’s right we need more highly educated lawyers(specializing in socialism and redistribution of wealth from the hard working to the hardly or never working)with major community organizer experience and no real business or management experience to run this state the way the lawyer heavy majority making up the members of the 3 branches of the federal government.
What friggin’ seperation of powers can you have when the majority of all 3 branches of state and federal governments consist of members of the American Bar Union…I mean Association?


July 21st, 2010
6:01 pm

I know for a fact that many of my fellow democrats voted in the republican primary because we knew that our candidate was a sure winner and we liked the idea of playing with the other party.


July 21st, 2010
6:13 pm

Handel’s lack of a formal education is irrelevant because of all her work experience, however, it may cause her to discount the usefulness of formal education and consequently underfund or cut the budgets of our colleges. Her GED is funny to talk about, though.

ga female

July 21st, 2010
6:14 pm

Rude, Rude Comments about the female comment by the Deal camp, will just gain Karen Handel votes. Women vote and women are sick of abusive comments like being called Fat Ass’s. Only men with little penis’s that can’t keep it up, and have no brains dare call women names like that. Just shows are afraid they are of someone being smarter than them who isn’t part of the Good Olde Boy’s Club.

Deal is a crook. He quit Congress because a bi-partisan committee voted to launch a full investigation of his crooked dealings. He could still go to jail for how he steered business to his company while in Congress and lied on his Disclosure forms while in the US House.

Plenty of Good Olde Boys have college degrees that were bought and paid for by daddy’s money, it doesn’t mean that they know anything. Or that they aren’t still a Bubba. Many of us women are alot smarter, right to the bank. Didn’t a women have the last laugh Glenn Richardson, lol.


July 21st, 2010
6:16 pm

Yes, I think lawyers should write the laws because we are the ones who eventually have to use them for your advantage when you end up in court.

Road Scholar

July 21st, 2010
6:27 pm

Jim, do you think the large turnout in the Repub governors race was due to Barnes being a shoo-in? Esp since no other Dem candidate could match his money, speaking ability, experience and platform? Also, there were 4 candidiates in the Repub race that may have won?

How many of those voters were crossovers? Maybe we’ll get the best 2 candidates from the major parties along with John Moulds?

Those teachers who don’t like Barnes, the last 8 years, esp the last one, wasn’t it enough Repub rule for you?

Enough: Handel or Deal are not Bill Gates. If they were, why would they be in politics?


July 21st, 2010
6:50 pm

I raised myself without parents since the age of 16,I never acquired a college education but did pretty well for myself working for Fortune 500 companies. Does this mean I am qualified to become Govenor of Georgia? I do not think so,but I will vote for anyone to keep Roy the Rat out of office. Please dear God, do not let that happen.


July 21st, 2010
6:59 pm

Three professions that you don’t want or need as an elected official: Trial Lawyer, Veterinarian, or professional politician…they all lack common sense.

Francisco R'Anconia

July 21st, 2010
7:27 pm

Conservatives are faced with a dilemma. A career politican that may not be trusthworth (Deal), or someone who could be elected just because she is not a career politician (Handel). I care little about the endorsements, since good people have lined up on both sides. PLEASE look at the issues and pick the one who has conservative values if you want to stop what has been happening the last year and a half. Experience is going to count if things are going to be turned around. Skipping debates has definitely hurt my opininion of Handel. I am curious to see her answer questions about some of her fence straddling- that is exactly what we DON’T need. There are plenty Lindsey Grahams and John McCains in the party already.

Georgia female

July 21st, 2010
8:43 pm

Karen Handel seems like a loud mouth woman who knows all, or thinks she does.
Nathan Deal is one of the most respected men in politics today. We do not need another liberal so-called republican, regardless of the gender.


July 22nd, 2010
10:20 am

If Sonny is the reason that the unemployment rate is 10% in Georgia, what happened to the rest of the country?
King Roy is already practicing his superiority show for the general election.

ga female

July 22nd, 2010
2:37 pm

Our high 10+ % unemployment rate is the result of the failure of Bush for 8 years. Dah! We went from Surpluses with Clinton to Bush getting us into to two unfunded wars, to revenge Daddy and huge defeits. You can not give the Rich huge tax cuts. It does not work but to line the pockets of the already rich. You also can not outsource jobs and insource with illegals.


July 22nd, 2010
4:25 pm

Francisco R’Anconia you have had one of the best well thought replys to this article. I pray we will ALL take the time to research these 2 and their stands, AND call often to see they follow thru with what they are presently saying. A debate between the 2 would be greatly appreciated!!