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