For a fellow who last week decried the negative tone of the Republican runoff for governor, Nathan Deal is adapting quickly.
On Thursday, everyone saw the former congressman’s “last straw” TV ad that accused Handel of lying – about Deal’s record and her own.
Not so many people saw the direct mail piece that also hit Republican-voting households yesterday afternoon. Examine it here.
For the first time, Deal points to the former secretary of state’s lack of a college degree. In a side-by-side comparison of educational background, the former congressman says this about Handel:
“Frederick Douglass High School, Maryland, Class of 1980.”
And this about himself:
“Undergraduate degree, Mercer University. Law degree, Mercer University.”
The mail piece twice makes this point:
“Handel has never served a complete term in office. She’s jumped from one office to another. Handel has sought three different offices within the last six years. You can’t be a ‘reformer’ if you never finish the job.”
The statement above is technically true, but incomplete. Handel was elected chair of the Fulton County Commission in 2003, to finish out the unexpired term of Mike Kenn. That term expired in 2006, when she ran for secretary of state.
Of the two charges, the focus on Handel’s education could be the more volatile issue when it comes to voter reaction. Georgians without college degrees outnumber those with them.
Yet among our governors, two college degrees — the second usually in law — are more common than one. The last Georgia governor to go no further than high school was Atlanta native Lester Maddox in 1966.
But Handel’s biography, including that lack of education, is central to her candidacy. She left her Maryland home at 17. This from a weekend profile by Shannon McCaffrey of the Associated Press:
Handel said her mother drank, and one night she held a shotgun to her daughter’s head. Handel left, living with a family friend and scrambling to finish high school while holding down a part-time job.
Rumors arose last summer that Handel had not graduated from high school, and had instead earned a GED.
An official with the Prince George’s County public school district confirmed that Karen C. Walker, Handel’s maiden name, did graduate from Frederick Douglass High School in 1980.
Handel and her mother eventually reconciled years later when her mother became ill. Before she died in 2000, Handel was at her bedside.
Handel says she took several college courses, mostly in accounting, after graduating high school.
Campaign finance reports covering the July 1-Aug. 4 period will start hitting around midnight tonight. Look for Karen Handel, one of two candidates in the GOP runoff for governor, to report about $1 million raised.
Denis O’Hayer of WABE (90.1FM) on Thursday posted a second, seven-minute installment of his interview with Beverly Hall, superintendent of the Atlanta public school system.
The superintendent promised an independent probe of the 12 schools where cheating on state tests is suspected. Said Hall, in the first few seconds:
“We have now actually contracted with nine law firms, and we are going to turn over whatever KPMG has given us to them. They’re going to have carte blanche to go in and do another investigation.,,,And we’re going to go in to see exactly what happened.”
The interview was recorded Wednesday. O’Hayer adds this odd note:
The next day, Atlanta Public Schools spokesman Keith Bromery said no firm commitments or contracts have yet been completed with any law firms. But he said Dr. Hall is weighing that as one option, along with possibly having the Georgia Professional Standards Commission handle the investigation; or a combination of the two.
In the GOP runoff contest to replace state Sen. Dan Moody of North Fulton, Brandon Beach of Alpharetta is accusing his rival, John Albers of Roswell, of dirty tricks.
In an e-mail to supporters, Beach accused Albers of having someone “impersonate” Betty Price, the Roswell City Council member, on a robo-call made to voters – indicating her support for Albers.
Betty Price is actually supporting Beach. More important, she’s the wife of U.S. Rep. Tom Price.
It is a general truth that, as a political tactic, making a sworn, lifelong enemy of a member of Congress – capable of chasing you into the hereafter and beyond — rarely succeeds.
The Atlantic has picked up on the one indisputable accomplishment of the only Georgian to become president:
Former President Jimmy Carter may have a somewhat mixed record, with a Nobel Peace Prize on the one hand and a lost 1980 reelection bid on the other, but blogger E.D. Kain wants to add one very significant accomplishment to the Carter legacy: The booming U.S. craft beer industry. In 1979, Carter de-regulated the beer market, which had been tightly controlled since the end of prohibition.
We’ll drink to that.