Your morning jolt: Nathan Deal on Karen Handel and ‘the last straw’

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.

The script:

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.

Former GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. Associated Press

Former GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. Associated Press

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.

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64 comments Add your comment


August 5th, 2010
9:50 am

See what one blog comment can start… a freakin’ firestorm. Gazillions of dollars just p*ssed away. Athens Voter’s comment here the other day was the spark: “Palin is a carpetbagger; she’s probably related to General Sherman.” That one is still making me chortle.


August 5th, 2010
9:52 am

Handel was called by teachers yesterday and reminded that this is not what they want to hear or see in print media. Both are not addressing the issues. Believe it or not the teachers may vote for Good Old Roy just because of this…

Real Deal Steal

August 5th, 2010
9:57 am

Is Real Deal Steal serious?

First he’s for interbasin water transfers, then’s he’s against it. First he’s for fetal tissue research, then he’s against it, first he’s for appropriating funds to Planned Parenthood, then he’s against it, first he’s against race to the Top, now he’s for it.

After Deal put up a TV attack ad on Handel during the primary, he turns around and says Handel is negative when she calls runs a comparison ad. He is outraged over “negative” campaigning, now he releases this ad.

Can anybody tell me what Deal stands for, expect for over the top negative campaign tactics?

Deal Real hypocrite. Georgia doesn’t need a do nothing Washington insider to lead this state.


August 5th, 2010
10:04 am

Jim, what’s with the envy over Rod B’s hair?

Billy Joe Poteet

August 5th, 2010
10:08 am

I think that Nathan Deal would be an excellent choice for Governor. He would bring the common sense and ethics of Washington D.C. to Georgia. His expertise in the proper management of taxpayers’ dollars learned in D.C. would place Georgia light years beyond most states. He is a career politician so he already knows all the ropes. You would be able to see the cost effectiveness of no-bid contracts at work in Georgia. What more could one ask for our future?


August 5th, 2010
10:10 am

I don’t really like this ad but I like Nathan Deal. I think that Karen Handel is self-destructing with what she has sent around in the mail and her overall demeanor that presents an angry, feminist bent. What serious candidate for governor tells a man to “put on his big boy pants”. This woman is a disgrace and she is poorly mistaken if she thinks she will be able to effective work with the GA Legislaturel


August 5th, 2010
10:12 am

How about some info on how the soon-to-be-passed Federal appropriation/aid to the states package is going to impact Georgia’s budget? The Gov ordered 4% agency cuts last month due to the money not being there. Now the Feds appear ready to pass it. What’s the impact? Come on AJC, do some investigating instead of just repeating what others are saying!


August 5th, 2010
10:14 am

I searched my (rather extensive) Rolodex and I just can’t find any feminists who don’t fully support gay marriage/gay rights.

Endorsements for Deal

August 5th, 2010
10:14 am

Multiple more endorsements today for Nathan Deal:

Keep up those attack ads Karen…you are really charming the “big boy pants” off of all our elected officials!


August 5th, 2010
10:26 am

Good Morning Goobers!!!!!!!!!!


Looks like gay marriage has the wind beneath its wings!!!!!!!!!!!!!



August 5th, 2010
10:28 am

How will Handel handle it? I bet that strap-on is so hard a cat could not scratch it.


August 5th, 2010
10:32 am

Now, i am being serious here… this is what needs to happen:

Stage a sham gay marriage at the Palin/Handel rally in Buckhead (there will be a lot of f-heads in B-head on that day!!!) AND HAVE KAREN AND PALIN BUST IT UP, with God on their side. Hey, it worked for Lester and the hippies.


August 5th, 2010
10:38 am

Well Folks – just for fun go back up to the U-tube series and replay the ad with the woman’s face. The pre-primary Deal ad slams Karen and he says he won’t change his mind. ha, ha,
Funny, how two weeks later a whole series of flip flops make him look like John F’nn Kerry “You know he was in Vietnam”.
Now he also says he was a Judge – this may be correct – but when?? At least 20 or more years ago, since he has been in the House or State that long.
Would a judge not know about some of this stuff being against House rules?
Not sure it is even relevant 20 years later. More information for the uneducated sheeple.
By the way, hi Marge. Glad to see you are here early!!!


August 5th, 2010
10:39 am

I like Karen Handel and will vote for her if she wins the runoff. That said, Nathan Deal has had to live in the ’slophole’ we call Washington DC to represent the great state of Georgia and from what I can find about his ‘Voting Record’, which is all that really counts, is that he is much more conservative in his votes than he votes with the liberal democrats. I’ll vote for his voting record in this coming runoff.

As far as the firey rhetoric on these blogs, Rather than switch, I’ll fight alongside any liberal if he upholds our constitution as the BASELINE for all our politics. I’ll fight with him or her, but I’ll vote with the party whose platform is more in line with my values.

Without a solid base, as stated by the Preacher in Ecclesiastes 4, “5The fool foldeth his hands together and eateth his own flesh.” He then goes on to call this kind of activity, vanity.

Republicans, quit eating your young and just state your reasons for voting for one or the other. Surely you can’t mean that Roy Barnes would be a better governor that either of the Republican candidates. If that’s true, God help our Republic of these United States.

That straw is old.

August 5th, 2010
10:42 am

That train is right on time; the Republicans are attacking the “geighs.” Nice, Deal. Real nice.

The Goobernator

August 5th, 2010
10:42 am

Deal keeps the media’s attention on smear tactics and smoke and mirrors. Deal doesn’t want any of his 15 sec. of media attention per day to be focused on his record or his true goals. The media complies by strangely reporting on these negative paid ads, doubling the outreach of the ads (for free). Handel descends into the muckracking with him. Neither candidate can focus attention on important issues and their visions for the future. They are too busy using hate tactics and petty squabbling in their ads to reach voters. Big turn off. If this is what the Republican party is all about, I don’t want any of their candidates in office.

I wish the media would not report on the negative ads. I wish the media would instead demand meaningful answers on issues. When the candidates don’t respond they should tell the public, “Candidate (name here) was asked about (important issue). Candidate was unavailable for comment/Candidate did not return our calls by press time.”


August 5th, 2010
10:45 am

Why aren’t they talking about the issues? I’m not interested in these claims that do nothing to address our budget issues, unemployment, water issues, etc.


August 5th, 2010
10:47 am

@ Endorsment:

OK – went and read the article. Other than NEWT we are not impressed by the 2nd stringers.

I am sure glad Deal is worried about leaky water pipes in the Metro area.

@ Goober – I guess you hate people just for the fun of it.
Where you a bully in HS, are you still beating your wife??


August 5th, 2010
10:48 am

Deal and Cronan operate a salvage yard in Gainesville that for nearly 20 years enjoyed a no-bid agreement with the state to provide space for inspections of rebuilt vehicles. The AJC reported in August 2009 that Deal intervened with Graham and other state leaders to stop Graham from changing the program that earned Deal and Cronan’s company nearly $300,000 a year.

The newspaper’s report led to a congressional ethics investigation that found Deal possibly violated U.S. House rules. Deal resigned from Congress in March before any formal accusation was made.

Graham, the revenue commissioner, was ordered to provide information and documents regarding a March 27, 2009, meeting with Deal, Cronan, Cronan’s son, Deal’s then-chief of staff Chris Riley, state Rep. Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) and deputy commissioner Mack Chandler.

Riley, who is now Deal’s campaign manager, asked for the meeting, records show, and Graham’s plan to privatize the inspection process and to open it up to more locations was discussed. It was a hostile meeting.


August 5th, 2010
10:52 am

That sound you hear is one of panic as ole Nathan sees what little chance he had slipping through the fingers of a couple of “Grizzly Mamas”.

On the eve of this runoff, all the political/media air related to this runoff will be sucked out by the joint appearance of Handel and the wildly popular Sarah Palin, leaving ole Nathan sitting in the wings, wishing he had been more of an attack candidate than the warm fuzzy
“Papa” he wasted money on. If that waste of money did not kill off his campaign, then surely the breathtaking gaffe relating to “Race to the Top” money did. If that was not enough, the Alaskan “Mama Grizzly” will do it next week.

Besides ole Nathan, Newt Gingrich will also be left with egg of his face next Wednesday morning. If he cannot influence the party base in Georgia, he might as well put his money back in his pocket rather than wasted it trying to compete with Palan in the presidential primaries.


August 5th, 2010
10:52 am

Deal has a great ad about his background that goes about two minutes. Just saw it yesterday on his website. I like it a lot better than this one, but Handel turned this whole thing negative early, because, as I suspect, she has little clue how to “handle” her campaign staff, and is only focused on getting an elected job and a public paycheck…..which jobs have led her to improbably notoriety which see enjoys. She has never been a business creator and is one really unqualified person imo. I don’t like this ad, but will vote for Deal based on the overall situation.


August 5th, 2010
10:53 am

“The Office of Congressional Ethics released a report alleging that recently-retired Rep. Nathan Deal (R-Ga.) was guilty of violating House rules by improperly using his office to push policy that would benefit his family’s auto salvage company.”


August 5th, 2010
10:57 am

Who knew wheat was so deliciously evil?


August 5th, 2010
10:58 am

Nathan Deal is in a runoff? Georgia Republicans have hit a new low. Don’t forget that he’s only running because he was about to be investigated as he was one of the 15 *MOST* corrupt members of congress. That guy is a joke. And Handel just received the kiss of Death of Sarah I-can’t-govern-640,000 people-so-I-will-quit-with-EIGHTEEN-months-left Palin. When are the Republicans going to kick out the fanatics and become viable to the American public again?


August 5th, 2010
10:59 am

Deal has stupid ads on TV, I just need a job here in GA! I need to have a roof over my familys head!

GOP & Democrats

August 5th, 2010
10:59 am

Diiferent Logos, same corrupt, money-grubbing parasites.

Nathan Deal gets his money from his business that is said to have
an exclusive no-bid contract with…guess who…the State of Georgia.
Leave it to the AJC to provide details.

Roy Barnes…same thing.

Karen Handel is a MAJOR THREAT to the ESTABLISHMENT GOOD-OLE BOYS that have sucking this state dry in all manner of corrupt manner and business deals by BOTH PARTIES.

What scares the HELL out of the GOP and the Democrats….is that Handel has made it clear she is going to expose EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM for the corrupt parasitic liars they are.

She is gonna pull the “FLUSH” handle of these crappy political parasites. Thats why Deal is whining about Handel
not doing “what’s good for the party.”

And BOTH the GOP & Democrats know it, and are running scared.

The GOP is gonna try and pull out ALL THE STOPS to get Deal elected so that the public wont know the TRUTH of all the crap thats been going on FOR YEARS. And teh GOP wants to derail Handel, EVEN if it means Deal losing to Roy Barnes.

If the citizens of this state EVER want Truth and Accountability in State Govenrment, they will vote for Karen Handel “FLUSH” all the political crap out of the system.


August 5th, 2010
11:01 am

No hate here…. I spend my days smiling and laughing, more so than any person. Hate is what is happening there.

Have no strong personal feelings about gay marriage- or even straight marriage,,, just that the people who are so opposed to gays are well known to me to be phonies and solid POS’s.

Karen has been handed an excellent opportunity to pull the chestnuts out of the fire. It would be great entertainment to see it happen.

Deal is Gay

August 5th, 2010
11:03 am

Deal has got to be Gay to keep harpin’ on the issue! Its always the ones who talk negatively about being Gay, who are really in the closet. Think about that Haggert guy! What about Deal’s buddy from Congress who was arrested in the mens bathroom trying to have sex in the stall with another man! Deal has got to be Gay!

The Shermanator

August 5th, 2010
11:05 am

We do not have to worry about Karen Handel destroying Georgia, because she will destroy herself before she gets a chance to.

73% of current Georgia legislators have endorsed Deal because they know him and know how fairly and effectively he will run this state. The benefits of having a man this qualified will be real, when people are at work again and revenues are up.

People who have any working knowledge of policy and politics know that Deal is the only candidate who will fairly and effectively run this state.


August 5th, 2010
11:10 am

And as far as Karen not addressing the issues important to GA, she is the only candidate to address the horrible inbreeding problem with her proposal to allow abortions in cases of incest and rape.

Ted Striker

August 5th, 2010
11:12 am

Ted…Handel is part of the group you call ‘uneducated sheeple.’

She is an excellent example for the children of Georgia to follow: “Kids you don’t need to go to college to be successful.”

Do you really want this woman having any impact on the Education of Georgia’s children!?

Deal isn’t perfect but he is certainly the lesser of 2 evils…and Handel is very evil.

I vote Dean next week…and if he loses to this moron, I’ll vote Barnes in November. Basically a Handel victory helps the Democrats–that has got to help the Republican party…right?

Ted Striker

August 5th, 2010
11:13 am

sorry for the typo…that should be Deal in the last PP.

Been Around-Done That

August 5th, 2010
11:16 am

Gad! All the “blowveators” posting crap on this site! Although I am a conservative Republican the antics of both Deal and Handel make me want to puke! While Handel is probably the least evil for Georgia both of them are beginning to make Roy Barnes look good! Excuse me for a minute. I’m heading for the bathroom to throw up!

Ted Striker

August 5th, 2010
11:17 am

The Goobernator…the media will never again demand such answers. Our media is no longer a nuetral entity. Every Media outlet chooses their side to start with then all reports will be slanted towards their favorite. The Media has now become about as effective and believable as the politicians they report on.

And yes I am talking to you AJC.

Beyond The Rhetoric

August 5th, 2010
11:18 am

Ted: Please provide some factual information on Deal’s ‘alleged’ flip flops. I realize that he changed his stance on Obama’s ‘Race To The Top’ program, mostly because Georgia is in the Phase II application process for the program which I believe his was unaware of. An application, generated by Perdue and Handel.

His 18 year house voting record is a testament to his steadfast conservative values. So, what other flip flops are you talking about?

The Goobernator

August 5th, 2010
11:26 am

@Ted. Thanks. I agree, in addition, they are reducing journalism to the level of tabloid TV . . .and they wonder why readership is slipping?

The Goobernator

August 5th, 2010
11:27 am

my comment above was responding to Ted Striker’s comment to me.

Billy Joe Poteet

August 5th, 2010
11:32 am

@The Shermanator

“73% of current Georgia legislators have endorsed Deal”

If you will pardon the language, “you betcha” they have. Deal is a member of the club.
They can count on him to continue the same old, same old – and will not get in the way of business as usual with the lobbyists and their “freebies”. The only problem with the “freebies” is that it costs us, the taxpayers.

Exactly how long have you been working with the Deal campaign?


August 5th, 2010
11:54 am

jdawg34…interesting comment you wrote. if people will open their ears and listen you’ll find out educators, and for sure, retired educators are saying Roy Barnes over Handel. they are scared to death of this woman. They are saying at leat they know what to expect from Roy. again, rassmussen polls, the last four to be exact, tell us Nathan Deal is the only Republican that can defeat Roy Barnes in November. Maybe voters better take notice.


August 5th, 2010
12:00 pm

I have casually crossed paths with Karen at a few functions – impression was neutral in person.

However, her shrill behavior in debates solidified my decision to not vote for her in the primary. I find her to be very polarizing. The negativity that she has spun and the deceptive campaign pieces (ie saying Deal will raise taxes – when he said he would be open to raising tax on tobacco), is indicative of someone that is unwilling to take a stand on issues and offer solutions. It leads to voters (and non-voters) only recalling sound-bites and innuendo instead of facts. It’s just the beginning of what the problem is with “POLITICIANS”. They dodge and weave and promise and lie and back-peddle to get in office and then they dodge and weave and promise and lie and back-peddle to stay there.

I am disappointed that so much is being focused on issues like abortion and gays. They are not matters that need to have a moment spent on. I will vote for Deal again on Tuesday.

All too often, I’ve found myself not voting for a candidate but voting against another. If it comes down to Karen Handel vs Roy Barnes in November, (I will vote for neither) Georgia loses either way.

Brantley County

August 5th, 2010
12:00 pm

GOP & Democrats, please point to anything that Handel has undertaken in her 10 year political career to earn the title “reformer.” I guess being Dan Quayle’s wife’s executive secretary does it. Or maybe her few month stint on the Fulton County Board of Commissioners (which is very ethical and has Fulton in great shape) does it. Secretary of State maybe? Please advise.


August 5th, 2010
12:06 pm

As they used to say in LA, vote for the crook instead of the wacko.

Beyond The Rhetoric

August 5th, 2010
12:09 pm

As for the truth about Deal’s claims, that Handel, at one time, supported the Log Cabin Republicans and Georgia Equality, read Galloway’s article from June 8th. The article includes ‘proof positive’ on her position with these groups.


Ubiquitous comments such as this one “Handel spokesman Dan McLagan said that the e-mail and the draft of the questionnaire – which McLagan said was never submitted – were composed by Matt Montgomery, Handel’s campaign manager at the time.”, have become a consistent defense in her campaign.

During Sunday’s debate when Deal accused Handel of saying that Eric Johnson’s ethics were “ify”. Handel said, “Well, actually, the phrase ‘ify’ wasn’t from me, it was in a newspaper ad”. In other words, my campaign staff did it.

Over and over again, Handel blames her campaign for doing or saying things that she is accused of. If this is true, then she can’t control her campaign and if she can’t control her campaign, how can we expect her to control the Governor’s office…….


August 5th, 2010
12:13 pm

It is just a shame that Basil Marceaux is on the ticket in Tennessee and not in GA. Certainly, he would have made the runoff.

Pat Swindall

August 5th, 2010
12:20 pm

Poteet, since you are so disgusted with just about every Republican in GA except Handel and particularly any Republican except the very few in the legislature, administration and congressional delegation that support Handel why are you even a Republican? The “same old, same old” you cited will not change without a complete change of power. You should be voting Democrat to throw all the bums out, right? If the Republicans in this state or “club” as you say are so bad and corrupt as you indicate electing Handel won’t be nearly enough to turn around such a corrupt and inept party, right?

I find the Handel fans very interesting- they seem to claim all Republicans in Gov’t in this state are no good corrupt bums, good ol boys, etc. If they are really are so alienated from the party why are they even in it? The answer of course is hardball politics- sling the mud, win the race.

I am glad Karen is such an outsider. She was born and grew up and started working in Washington, DC in the government and has seved as a lobbyist. She has the whole Republican national gang on her side- Romney (who I doubt she really knows) Palin (who we know she does not really know), plus webpages like Peachpundit and Redstate, etc. on her side passing around their BS. Plus she is such an outsider, Poteet, that she worked in Gov. Purdue’s adminstration as an advisor.

Bill Orvis White

August 5th, 2010
12:37 pm

Miss Sarah just lost her way. Mr. Deal’s ad is beautiful.

I’m also a bit confused on Governor Huckabee’s endorsement. Again, I know that he lost his way on this one.

God Bless,


August 5th, 2010
12:42 pm

Gay Wheat: It’s What’s Wrong With America.

No diploma on her wall

August 5th, 2010
12:45 pm

Has Karen published that high school diploma yet?

[...] mentioned Mike Huckabee — the winner of the ‘08 presidential primary in Georgia – as the dog that hadn’t barked in the Republican race for [...]


August 5th, 2010
12:58 pm

Karen has nothing in her bag except negativity. That is the reason she did not attend the debates. She could not attack all of them in one place at one time so she avoided them till she could have a one-on-one. Her reasoning for not attending is plain stupid! If she was so against one person you’d think she’d make sure and attend to get out the facts on him. While she was secretary of state the amount of illegals doing jobs that require a state licence more than doubled! She can say she was not involved in the enforcement aspect of this all she wants but, she was In Charge of the entire STATE CONSTRUCTION AND LICENCING BOARD. She can say she wasn’t aware of this but this would show she had no idea about her job and is not telling the truth because tv news aired interviews with illegals who were working just down from the capital building with no construction licences at all! There is just something about Karen that doesn’t ring true. I’d be willing to bet, if you’d get all her classmates from high-school together you’d be hard pressed to find trust for her amoung them. If the republicans want a chance at all for the head of state job they’d best be putting Deal up against Roy, Karen will only let you down!