The two surviving candidates in the Republican race for governor on Thursday moved into territory once held by defeated comrades.
While Nathan Deal followed I-75 to south Georgia, Karen Handel was on the coast for a meeting with the editorial board of the local newspaper — which had endorsed homeboy and former senator Eric Johnson in the July 20 primary.
We weren’t there to here the pitch from the former secretary of state, but Larry Peterson of the Savannah Morning News was.
Handel told editors it was a “disgrace” that Nathan Deal, her runoff rival, didn’t reveal that he was “associated” with a federal grand jury investigation into a ‘09 meeting with state officials about his business dealings with the state.
“Heaven forbid,” [she said], “if it had come forward and Nathan Deal was our nominee.
“The GOP would be in big trouble. And that would mean he put his interests ahead of the greater interests.”
Now, about this Johnson fellow — who so far has endorsed neither Handel nor Deal:
Earlier, she extended an olive branch to former state Sen. Eric Johnson, who finished third on July 20, but drew 71 percent of the vote in Chatham County.
She urged about 45 people at a Savannah “meet-and-greet” session to applaud Johnson for his “wonderful” campaign.
“We need his voice in policy making,” she said.
But at the editorial board, she wouldn’t discuss one of her primary campaign TV ads, which said he had “iffy ethics.”
“I’m not going to rehash the primary,” she said. “It’s over. I finished 11 (percentage) points ahead. I’m moving on.”
Later, she told the board “there was a clear contrast between me and the others in the field from an ethics standpoint. That’s what we wanted to show.”
Handel also noted Deal and others “took their shots” at her during the primary campaign.
The response from the Deal campaign’s Brian Robinson:
“Karen Handel can’t tell the truth about Nathan Deal’s record,” he said. “She can’t tell the truth about Eric Johnson’s record. She can’t even tell the truth about her own record.”
Meanwhile, Nathan Deal flew into Lowndes County, where – according to the Valdosta Daily Times – he didn’t waste much time. Possibly because Handel won the county with 36 percent of the vote 10 days ago.
Deal quickly pushed on to Adel and Cook County, which was won by state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine on July 20.
Oops. Someone’s a little bit too eager to count a win: The Washington Post has an online map of all the endorsements made by Sarah Palin in the last few months, and how the candidates have fared in Republican primaries.
The map is slightly off when it comes to Georgia, however, listing Karen Handel as having “won” her primary for governor.
Handel won a plurality on July 20, but somebody forgot that Georgia is a majority-wins state.
Something you probably didn’t know about the brewing constitutional confrontation in Arizona – also from today’s Washington Post:
The federal judge who blocked key aspects of Arizona’s new immigration law was so well regarded across the political spectrum that she was nominated to the federal bench by President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, who tapped her on the recommendation of Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), one of Congress’s most conservative senators.
Former Gov. Roy Barnes was one of the first two statewide candidates to hand in a questionnaire from the Georgia Charter Schools Association.
(John Barge, the GOP nominee for state school superintendent, was the other.)
Barnes should score well – except for his answer on the constitutionality of the Georgia Charter Schools Commission established by the Legislature in 2008.
The legislation, still the subject of a lawsuit, allows charter schools to be imposed in school districts that reject them – using state cash allocated to the systems. Writes Barnes:
As indicated in prior questions, I support both the equitable funding of all charter schools and additional authorizers of charter schools.
However, as a lawyer, I do have concerns about the constitutionality of HB 881, which is currently being appealed in our court system. I would support legislation to allow a more equitable system of funding of all types of charter schools, but it must not violate existing provisions of the Georgia Constitution.
Under our state constitution, local boards of education have the constitutional mandate to control and manage local schools, including charter schools. We must find ways to incentivize local boards of education to support charter schools so that they receive full and equitable funding.
On roughly the same topic, Americans for Prosperity and the Foundation for Educational Choice are hosting a seminar at 1 p.m. today at the Hilton Hotel Norcross on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard.
The topic: “Solutions for improving education in Georgia through school choice platforms.” Speakers include B.J. Van Gundy, president of the Georgia Charter Schools Association; and Sandra Foster, a founder of Christian Family Home School Educators.
Another independent candidate has bit the dust. From the Augusta Chronicle:
After collecting 6,752 signatures to run as an independent candidate for Georgia Senate District 23, Chuck Pardue announced Thursday he was withdrawing from the race.
Pardue cited family reasons for the drop out, leaving Republican qualifier Jesse Stone with no opposition on the Nov. 2 ballot.
Pardue spokesman Gunner Hall said the condition of Pardue’s son John, who was recently injured in Afghanistan, had worsened Monday and required the support of his entire family….
The Democratic party tried to substitute Pardue’s name for that of Leon Garvin, who qualified to seek Sen. J.B. Powell’s Senate seat after Powell withdrew to run for commissioner of agriculture, after Garvin realized he did not live in District 23.
On his new blog, Human Behavior, Tom Crawford points to Houston County, where a preacher wants Warner Robins High School to scrap its mascot, the “Screamin’ Demon.”
Crawford remembers that past Screamin’ Demons include a certain Sonny Perdue, who was the starting quarterback in 1964:
“I asked Gov. Perdue’s communications office if he had any comment on the petition drive to dump the Demon. They did not respond.”
But the bet here is that Perdue – whose son has become a relatively prominent Southern Baptist preacher – is secure in his both religious and high school beliefs, and won’t sign.