State GOP lawmakers weigh in on Nathan Deal’s side

We have two developments today in the Republican runoff for governor.

First, as mentioned this morning, there’s Karen Handel’s new TV ad, another aggressive punch that you can see here.

It describes rival Nathan Deal as “a corrupt relic of Washington.” The language is important. The word “corrupt” is strong but unsurprising, given Handel’s message of reform and her need to enhance her image as an outsider.

It is the word “relic” that startles – another hefty allusion to the 20-year gap in the ages of the two GOP candidates. How Deal responds to the two-pronged attack — and how quickly — is likely to be telling.

This afternoon, the Deal campaign cut loose with a list of 24 current state senators who endorse his candidacy – and three Republican nominees for the Senate.

That’s pretty much the entire Republican Senate caucus – minus those GOP senators themselves engaged in runoff campaigns. Remember that the leader of the chamber, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, comes from Gainesville – as does Deal.

Though he’s no longer a member of the chamber, the roster begs the question: Where is Eric Johnson?

A list of 60 House members backing Deal is expected tomorrow.

Among them will be Speaker pro tem Jan Jones (R-Alpharetta), who – like Handel – carries a good deal of influence in north Fulton, and who will be making robo-calls for the Deal campaign.

In today’s print column, the Insider takes a look at one reason that Handel’s candidacy could prove revolutionary. She would be the first governor since Lester Maddox in 1966 to become governor without prior service in the Legislature.

But these lists of legislative endorsements are a measure of why it is so hard for strangers to the General Assembly to become governor. Each lawmaker is a network unto himself (herself), representing several thousand votes statewide.

Handel put out a list of endorsements Wednesday that included only 11 future and prospective state lawmakers.

The most interesting name on Handel’s list belongs to state Rep. Earl Ehrhart of Powder Springs, who lost his position as chairman House Rules Committee when David Ralston of Blue Ridge became speaker.

Last we heard, Ehrhart was conducting a quiet campaign for House majority leader, to replace the retiring Jerry Keen of St. Simons Island.

Following are the list of state senators supporting Deal:

Senator Don Balfour, Snellville

Senator John Bulloch, Ochlocknee

Senator Jim Butterworth, Cornelia

Senator Buddy Carter, Pooler

Senator Ronnie Chance, Tyrone

Senator John Crosby, Tifton

Senator Greg Goggans, Douglas

Senator Johnny Grant, Milledgeville

Senator Bill Hamrick, Carrollton

Senator Seth Harp, Midland

Senator Bill Heath, Bremen

Senator Bill Jackson, Appling

Senator Butch Miller, Flowery Branch

Senator Jeff Mullis, Chickamauga

Senator Jack Murphy, Cumming

Senator Chip Pearson, Dawsonville

Senator Chip Rogers, Woodstock

Senator Mitch Seabaugh, Sharpsburg

Senator Don Thomas, Dalton

Senator Ross Tolleson, Perry

Senator Renee Unterman, Buford

Senator Dan Weber, Dunwoody

Senator John Wiles, Kennesaw

Senator Tommie Williams, Lyons

Republican Senate nominees who have endorsed Deal:

Charlie Bethel, Dalton

Barry Loudermilk, Cassville

Lindsey Tippins, Marietta

Following are the names of lawmakers and other supporters released by the Handel campaign:

Representative John Lunsford

Representative Sharon Cooper

Representative Earl Ehrhart

Representative Matt Ramsey

Representative Allen Peake

Representative Mike Jacobs

Representative Jill Chambers

Representative and Republican nominee for State Senate Fran Millar

Republican nominee for Representative Jan Tankersley (previously endorsed as County Commissioner)

Republican nominee for Representative Lynne Riley (previously endorsed as County Commissioner)

Republican nominee for State Senate Josh McKoon

Chatham County Sheriff Al St. Lawrence

Chatham County Commissioner David Gellatly

Chatham County Commissioner Helen Stone

Chatham County Commissioner Patrick Farrell

Cobb County Commissioner Bob Ott

Cobb County Commission Chairman Tim Lee

Cobb County Commissioner Helen Goreham

Henry County Commission Chairman B.J. Mathis

Dallas Mayor Boyd Austin

Gwinnett Sheriff Butch Conway

Sandy Springs Mayor Eva Galambos

Chatham County School Board Member Julie Gerbsch

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63 comments Add your comment

Sissy Saxby

July 29th, 2010
2:26 pm

Crooks of a feather …

karen lovehandles

July 29th, 2010
2:41 pm

it hurts my head (and GA’s future) to think that someone as inexperienced, untested and unqualified as “Lovehandles” could be our next governor during this difficult period…


July 29th, 2010
2:55 pm

A party divided. Oh it just tears me up. Not really.

[...] Coming from Political Insider’s Jim Galloway: A list of 60 House members backing GOP runoff gubernatorial candidate Nathan Deal is expected Friday, and he’ll also take a look at one reason that GOP rival Karen Handel’s candidacy could prove revolutionary. Read more. [...]


July 29th, 2010
3:03 pm

A crafty old (corrupt) veteran vs. a young wisecrackin’ (inexperienced) mavericky woman. It will be interesting to see which brand of politics wins out. It’s like John McCain and Sarah Palin going head to head. Is the electorate caring about any of this or will it be a ten percent turnout?

The Kingfish

July 29th, 2010
3:18 pm

Deal has the backing of the whole state. This is an impressive list that covers every corner of the state. He has clearly recovered and built support in the areas of the state where he did not get so many votes in the primary. This flood of support for Deal is a huge indication that he is the favorite to win the runoff and the general.

Wait a minute Jim

July 29th, 2010
3:20 pm

Not only will Karen be the first governor with no prior experience in the legislature since Lester Maddox, she’ll be the first one without a college education since ole Lester.

Will she finish

July 29th, 2010
3:29 pm

Like college, her term at the N Fulton Chamber, her term and Fulton Chair and her term as SOS it doesn’t really matter Karen CAN NOT and WILL NOT finish her term if elected. HMMMMM I wonder if this will make CC think twice about who he might endorse.


July 29th, 2010
3:29 pm

I love the fact Sheriff (of Nottingham) Butch Conway is backing Karen. That is the kiss of death – ask Clay Cox…….ole Butch loves to see his name in print – ask Bannister….


July 29th, 2010
3:35 pm

I love it. The Tea Baggers did JUST what I predicted. They rallied behind loonies and un-educated (read: college dropout) candidates, and now it should be a handsome victory for Roy in the fall. Go Dems!


July 29th, 2010
3:38 pm

I agree with “will she finish”, Karen has a bad habit of starting a term and never finishing, so if she were elected to be governor, then look to for a special election in 2012 to replace her cause she would have quit. Deal is nothing but a crook and will rob this state blind…so not much choice on the Republican side….Go Roy!!


July 29th, 2010
3:40 pm

My Viewpoint:

The coalition of Republican, both Federal and State Senators, around Nathan Deal in the Republican Runoff Election is a significant development in the Primary.

I believe the Republican Party as a whole, are fed up with the negative attacks from Ms. Handel. This, coupled with a lack of confidence in Handel’s credentials, perceived inability to lead the state, and confidence in Nathan Deal to be a true Conservative Governor, have shaped their loyalties.

[...] Jim Galloway, one of the few reasons the AJC shouldn’t be shuttered, brings us the latest endorsement round-up. [...]

Just Peachy

July 29th, 2010
3:48 pm

If you think she hasn’t finished her term you haven’t done your homework. Karen did finish her term as fulton county chair; she was elected to COMPLETE the term of the former county commission chair. She finished that but didn’t run for reelection… that’s totally different then not completing a term. As Secretary of State is was good she stepped down. SoS is over the election… how good would that look that she would be overseeing her own election as governor?


July 29th, 2010
3:48 pm

Jim, when are you going to post something showing Nathan Deal isn’t the target or subject of the US Attorney’s investigation?!

Just Peachy

July 29th, 2010
3:53 pm

Love that all the state House & Senate the wink, wink, nod, nod club are backing Deal… that only makes sense after Grand Jury seeks documents involving Deals unethical and corrupt contract with the state from 2004-2008 created by abusing his influence in congress with corrupt politicians at the gold dome… NICE, way to prove your ethics there house & senate. They wouldn’t endorse Karen if their life depended on it because she’s well aware of all the scandal going on there. Don Balfour… are you kidding me?!?! I don’t even think Karen would accept that endorsement.

Just Peachy

July 29th, 2010
3:53 pm

Dawgfan…. but he is.


July 29th, 2010
3:59 pm

Just Peachy…and how do you know that? If he is, why wait any longer to let it be known?

David Staples

July 29th, 2010
4:18 pm

Phew, makes me glad I’m supporting a candidate not surrounded in ethics investigations. That, of course, would be John Monds –

Just Peachy

July 29th, 2010
4:36 pm

They don’t just start seeking documents & recordings specifically mentioning Deals name without reason. Ethics investigations they do… anyone can open an ethics investigation but when a Grand Jury is involved it’s because the evidence is big enough to try for an indictment. Deals name is specifically mentioned in the requests (they requested from Bart Graham to provide the information on the discussion between him & Deal). If Deal is elected and indictment occurs, which I suspect it will based on the contracts it’s a clear monopoly favoring his company & not allowing for the open market to bid the project, Deal will be impeached. That’ll be great for GOP won’t it?

Noo Corrupt Deal, Nooooo King Roy

July 29th, 2010
4:54 pm

If Deal wins, there will be lots of no bid contracts and good looking interns for all.. Hell I could get the legislature to endorse me with that program



July 29th, 2010
5:03 pm

Rangel was just convicted on all charges, Raw Deal is next.


July 29th, 2010
5:06 pm

Why did Deal quit his job before his term was up and cost the taxpayer hundreds of thousands? When will a Deal blogger admit he was on his way to conviction?

Betsy Todd

July 29th, 2010
5:07 pm

You failed to mention that State Senator Cecil Staton from middle Georgia endorsed Karen Handel many weeks ago and is one of her stronger backers. He has been working in the Macon and Warner Robins area to get Handel elected.

green green

July 29th, 2010
5:08 pm

LOL, north fulton jan jones is not going to support north fulton karen handel. bet jan’ll dictate to the rest of north fulton who to support. Guess riley didn’t get the memo.


July 29th, 2010
5:20 pm

Wait a minute Jim

July 29th, 2010
3:20 pm

Lester was the last Honest Georgia Governor, as a Deal backed you don’t under what honesty is but it is the opposite of corruption, Something Deal knows very well.


July 29th, 2010
5:22 pm

Wait a minute Jim

July 29th, 2010
3:20 pm

Lester was the last Honest Georgia Governor, as a Deal backed you don’t under what honesty is but it is the opposite of corruption, Deal knows all about CORRUPTION.

Tom Watson

July 29th, 2010
5:38 pm

Karen Handel is a reformer and she is not a member of the good old boy legislature where there is more interest in protecting their jobs and perks than in serious ethics reform. Shame on the boys under the gold dome for backing an ethics challenged Deal, who was one of them. The last thing Georgia needs is someone who has a Washington perspective and who participated as Republicans ran up the deficit and gave away the majority because they failed to act like Republicans. If Deal is the nominee, the Republican majority in Georgia will be just as much in danger!

Wheelin' and Dealin'

July 29th, 2010
5:38 pm

If experience means better at ripping off the public, and dancing around the facts – Deal’s your man!


July 29th, 2010
7:09 pm

Karen Handel DOES HAVE COLLEGE EDUCATION, she doesn’t have a degree, she didn’t finish, but she does have college education! Good grief, people have so little information – that or they simply want to ignore it to make their point more relevant. Deal is a crook. He is one now, he has been the whole time he’s been in politics. I don’t know if Karen is great for the position, we will find out, she’s certainly better than the money laundering, homophobic, switching parties according to who’s in power, Washington opportunist running against her…

more of the same with Deal

July 29th, 2010
7:48 pm

Anyone the Chips are for, I’m agin.
Our state government has been a disaster under the above-listed Deal supporters.
Certainly if Deal wins, Georgia will have four more years of tax cuts for cronies, reservoirs for real estate developers and contractor cronies, state contracts for cronies, etc.
And they will continue to close state parks, veterans homes, extension offices, forestry commission offices, and continue beating up on the courts and judges and DA’s and public defenders and local governments and state employees and the elderly and mentally ill, etc. etc. etc.


July 29th, 2010
8:50 pm

Of course the good ole boys network would support Deal. It would be a shame to have an honest and ethical person in the governor’s office.

College degree

July 29th, 2010
8:51 pm

A college degree would be nice, but whatever. Fact is, the Republicans are imploding because they stand for so little.


July 29th, 2010
9:31 pm

Do the folks on the list of supporters consider the types of questionable activities that are the foundation of Deal’s ethics charges merely “business as usual” here in Georgia, where self-dealing, insider state contracts, cronyism and pocket-lining are standard operating procedure for government officials? Have they read the charges against him? Have they read his lame “explanation” of how none of it matters & it’s just his enemies (the Office of Congressional Ethics? Revenue Commissioner Bart Graham? the Dems? Handel?) out to get him. I’m not crazy about Handel or Barnes, but at least they haven’t been so godawful brazen in their abuse of the public trust.
I am glad there are still honest public servants like Commissioner Graham, who are brave enough to stand up to entrenched politicians for the public good.

John Galt

July 29th, 2010
10:28 pm

Quote concerning Black Bart the “Revenue Commissioner” from a Georgia legislator: “If you could buy Bart for what he’s really worth and sell him for what he thinks he’s worth, you’d have it made.”


July 30th, 2010
12:12 am

Bud, have you read the charges and report against Deal? I don’t know him, never was in his district, didn’t vote for him in the primary, but I did not trust the Atlanta paper so I read the report paragraph by paragraph. Remember, the house ethics violations when Newt was teaching his course in N. Georgia? Same type of stuff. Should Deal have his admin with him when he is meeting about his business? Maybe not, but that is arguable and indeed common. Not saying its ideal. The rest of it is whether he should call his business revenue dividends versus income, and whether his characterization of his meeting as a “concerned public official” was correct. Basically, it was a committee hatchet job on a republican, just like Newt’s situation. Note, how they mischaracterize in the report the accountants letter explaining that no matter how the income is stated, it had no tax consequence. Even with the one arguable touch foul on Deal, he is still a helluva better than Handel in my opinion. And Roy? Well, he set the standard for slime based on his cronyism the last time around. .

Thunder Thighs

July 30th, 2010
12:40 am

Hey sweet cheeks. Ever wonder what thunder thighs did to get an executive position with KPMG. Hmmmm, makes you kind of wonder what an executive position is…… She passed up all those MBA and CPA candidates!!!! She’s a sharpy.

Beauty school dropout, go back to high school.

Jackson Phong

July 30th, 2010
3:06 am

Can someone tell me what Karen Handel actually reformed please? Seriously people. Do you believe everything you hear? How can you reform anything when you’ve every elective office you’ve had in the first term.


July 30th, 2010
6:17 am

Now that the Feds are after Deal it is not will he go to jail but WHEN DEAL WILL GO TO JAIL.


July 30th, 2010
6:21 am

What do you Deal posters think of Deal’s boy Casey Cagel, the college dropout? Guess you will be voting for Carol Porter. When Handel beats Corrupt Deal will you vote for King Roy?


July 30th, 2010
6:27 am

John Galt 10:28 pm

The Gentleman you call”Black Bart” is part of the family that owns Flowers Baking. He was honest & independently rich enough not to stand up to Deal’s corrupt demands. They made their money by honest hard work not by stealing it from the taxpayer like Deal.


July 30th, 2010
7:03 am

Of course the legislators are supporting Deal. Who better to grow the $’s they can make off their “service”.


July 30th, 2010
7:30 am

Do we all get a no bid contract or just the crooks that endorse Deal?


July 30th, 2010
8:04 am

a federal grand jury is looking into discussions between Deal and the state revenue commissioner over Deal’s longtime business arrangement with the state, according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution report Wednesday.

Documents obtained through an open records request reveal a grand jury subpoenaed Revenue Commissioner Bart Graham to provide documents about a discussion he had with Deal, the newspaper reported.

The Journal-Constitution reported last year that Deal spoke with Graham and others about a state program that earned Deal’s company nearly $300,000 a year. Deal has said he did nothing wrong.

John Galt

July 30th, 2010
8:13 am

It’s Black Bart’s wife who is a member of the Flowers Bakery clan, and of course Bart owes his appointment to their large contributions to a corrupt politician: George “Sonny” Perdue. Honesty? Among other “accomplishments” Black Bart helped his boss change the law to avoid taxes on a real estate transaction. Let’s also talk about his lack of competence. For example, Bart cost the taxpayers over a million dollars by not processing tax returns on time and therefore having to pay interest on the taxpayers refunds.

As I have said on these pages, it’s likely that it is Black Bart who is under investigation by a Federal Grand Jury. Looks like Roy Barnes is the next govna, and the silver lining to that is that Barnes will get rid of Bart and his ilk.

Just A Peach - Not A Pit

July 30th, 2010
8:16 am

Truly, the republican party is about ready to show it’s colors here. Presently they are caught up in dividing the vote between male/female, conservative/most conservative, and GTRL/non GRTL. It’s all BS to keep the electorate in an ongoing tizzy. By doing that, we get retread Roy for governor.

The Georgia GOP is all about electing only men to important offices. Women are fine in offices where they are not in front of the TV camera’s, or have no dealings with Washington. The good ole boy network is alive and well in Georgia. Just take a look at the endorsements that Nathan Deal has received. Hello…… everyone of those people have their own higher political aspirations.

I have talked to numerous women, who like me don’t relate to the republican party as it is now. We find ourselves feeling more indepe,ndent or liberatarian due to the exclusive way that republicans in general, treat women in the party. This must be addressed really soon before a mass exodus happens again.

Karen Handel in the campaign has been a breath of fresh air. She has clearly stated her positions and has tried to stay apart from the mudslinging. Responding to a curveball is sometimes necessary I know. So far in this election we have heard some real doozies. Let’s begin with Karen not having a high school diploma-false, Karen a barren woman – Steve and Karen have no children,
Karen pro- choice – false, Karen part of the good ole boy network – false….. do we need to go any further.

Ladies, set yourself apart from your husband or wife…….. vote for Karen Handel for governor of Georgia.

T Knight

July 30th, 2010
8:28 am

I’m supporting Karen Handel. I’ve done my research. I don’t need outside information to convince me she is the best person for the job. I’m supporting the true outsider.


July 30th, 2010
8:33 am

John Galt

July 30th, 2010
8:13 am

Commissioner Graham is honest, Deal is a crook.. Deal is going to Jail.. Commissioner Graham is doing a good job given the budget cuts.

dirty tricks

July 30th, 2010
10:40 am

Did handel learn dirty politics from Jill chambers or was it the other way around?

The Snark

July 30th, 2010
12:09 pm

@ T-Knight: You’ve done your research, have you? I doubt it. Until you’ve talked to someone who’s actually worked for Karen Handel, you won’t find out what she is really all about. And there are plenty to choose from in the various positions she has briefly passed through.