Nathan Deal, the Republican runoff candidate for governor, is out this morning with his harshest response yet to rival Karen Handel’s attacks on his performance as a member of Congress.
Deal accuses Handel of misrepresentation – which she denies – and raises the same gay rights-related issues that he hit the former secretary of state with in the days before the July 20 primary:
The 30-second spot includes no images of either candidate – just a menacing field of wheat.
Male voiceover: The last straw. For some, it’s Karen Handel’s support for taxpayer-funded gay partner benefits.
For others, the last straw is Karen Handel’s vote to give our tax dollars to Youth Pride, a group that promotes homosexuality among teenagers as young as 13.
But for all, the lies Karen Handel tells about Nathan Deal — a veteran, former prosecutor and judge, to hide what she’s done — are the last straw.
The ad does not mention Deal’s 18 years in Congress.
As is always the case in the final weekend before a vote, regardless of an ad’s quality, the measure of its effectiveness will be the money – and purchased TV time – behind it. And we won’t know for another day or so how much either candidate for governor has left in the bank.
We’ve picked up word that another Republican presidential candidate from 2008 is about to dip into a pair of Georgia congressional runoffs.
Mike Huckabee, winner of the Georgia primary, will endorse Republican Rob Woodall in the 7th District contest to replace U.S. Rep. John Linder. Woodall, Linder’s former chief of staff, finished first in the July 20 primary, ahead of radio talk show host and pastor Jody Hice.
Huckabee will also weigh in on the side of Tom Graves of Ranger, caught in yet another runoff against Lee Hawkins of Gainesville in the never-ending race for the 9th District congressional seat.
Graves won a special election in June that makes him the incumbent. There is no Democrat in that contest.
But the real importance of Huckabee’s endorsements can be filed under “dogs that didn’t bark.” Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney have already endorsed Karen Handel in the GOP race for governor. Huckabee apparently is staying out of that contest.
Larry Peterson of the Savannah Morning News on Wednesday captured some of the rhetoric flowing between Karen Handel and Nathan Deal in the Republican race for governor:
“She is willing to destroy everybody she has attacked,” [Deal] told the Savannah Morning News editorial board before an evening rally in town.
“I think she doesn’t really care about the party. I think it’s all about her and whether she wins. … I don’t think, in political terms, we have seen this kind of attack since Sherman’s March to the Sea.”
Translation: She’s from Maryland, a borderline Yankee, and ain’t from around here. To continue:
Handel spokesman Dan McLagan responded sharply.
“What would truly destroy the party,” McLagan said, “would be to nominate someone like Deal who is under a federal grand jury investigation and could be indicted or, heaven forbid, arrested at any moment. …
“Republicans would lose everything we have worked so hard to build.”
Translation: Deal is Rod Blagojevich, but with better hair.
The mailbox delivered a Karen Handel flyer on Wednesday afternoon that again slams Deal as one of the “most corrupt” members of Congress – and touts endorsements from Sarah Palin, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, and U.S. Rep. Tom Price of Roswell.
But the mailer, in one corner, brings another Handel villain into the runoff contest: state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, who finished fourth in the July 20 primary.
The ad uses July 14 (i.e., pre-primary) type from a weekly newspaper in Duluth to justify a headline that says:
“And now, nasty Nathan attacks…Corrupt politicians Deal and Oxendine unite to try and stop reformer Handel.”
The body type:
As Karen Handel continues to pull away from the field, Nathan Deal has joined forces with John Oxendine in attacking her. Deal and Oxendine working together are a partnership only ethics committees can love.”
The price of witnessing is about to go up. Lawton Sack of Bulloch County sends word that thousands of Georgia’s notary publics are in for a big surprise when they renew their certificates – or attempt to get one for the first time.
Last week, Attorney General Thurbert Baker issued an opinion saying that the fee increases on court services mandated by the Legislature this spring, to fill a massive budget hole, also applies to those people with the nifty seals.
Certification fees jump from $37 to $162.
If you already thought the year felt a little historic, you’ve got good instincts. On his Crystal Ball blog, Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, cites these highlights:
– 2010 features the most U.S. Senate seats on the November ballot (37) since 1962.
– 2010 also has the most elections for governor ever on the same ballot (also 37).
– 2010 has produced one of the highest percentages of Democratic-versus-Republican House line-ups in modern history. Fully 405 of House races out of 435 have both a Democrat and a Republican running for the seat—the gold standard of basic two-party choice in democracy.
Democrats have nominated 410 candidates for the House and Republicans have an even larger number, 430. For the GOP this is the most congressional districts they have ever contested.