Karen Handel vs. Saxby Chambliss? It’s possible

Friends of former secretary of state Karen Handel tell us that Rob Simms, once her chief of staff – now a D.C. media consultant, wasn’t blowing smoke when he said Handel was considering a 2014 challenge to U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss.

She is.

Simms dropped Handel’s name last week in a Weekly Standard roundup of potential primary rivals to Chambliss – a well-timed piece, given the senator’s decision to renew his fight with Grover Norquist as the Thanksgiving recess began. Other possibilities included U.S. Reps. Tom Price, R-Roswell; Paul Broun, R-Athens; and Tom Graves, R-Ranger. (U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey sent word to Chambliss and state GOP Chairman Sue Everhart weeks ago that he’s not considering it.)

Over at PeachPundit.com, Charlie Harper has a few thoughts on Chambliss’ situation – as does Jason Pye. But let’s do some realistic handicapping here as well.

We haven’t talked to him, but we’re told that Graves is less than interested in mounting a challenge to Chambliss – for many reasons, but including the fact that a special election, a special election runoff, a primary, then a primary runoff can chew up a man’s finances. Graves hasn’t yet recovered from 2010.

Broun would be an intriguing possibility – if Republicans hadn’t just seen control of the U.S. Senate slip away once more because of ill-phrased, hard-right rhetoric. This is an area in which Broun has specialized – ideas spawned from the pit of hell and such. A Broun candidacy would certainly spur hibernating Georgia Democrats into action, on the off-chance that the Athens congressman might actually take Chambliss down and give them an earlier-than-expected foothold on relevance in a general election.

Handel, of course, has a statewide election under her belt – and came within a percentage point of beating Nathan Deal in the 2010 Republican runoff for governor. (She has a book to sell, too, but let us ignore that point.)

Price has never run statewide, but given that the largest portion of Georgia voters can be reached through the metro Atlanta media market, that’s less of a roadblock than it once was. The Roswell congressman also has $1.6 million in the bank – a sizable head start on any other would-be challenger to Chambliss.

What’s being ignored is the fact that Handel and Price have a close political and geographic connection. Price was the only Republican member of Congress from Georgia to endorse Handel’s gubernatorial ambitions. (Both are thus unloved by the current governor.)

One will not run if the other does. So the more that you hear one of these two north Fulton figures talk about a U.S. Senate run, the less likely it is that the other is truly considering the contest.

Handel’s dropped name doesn’t mean that Price has given up the idea. But it does mean that, after studying the odds, he might say no. And certain people are preparing.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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86 comments Add your comment


November 26th, 2012
2:10 pm

Preview of the comments to come:

Deal Republicans: Handel can’t win and should go away.
Handel Republicans: Handel can win and shouldn’t go away.
All Democrats: Handel can’t win and should go away.

There, saved you folks some time.


November 26th, 2012
2:12 pm

Why are they mutually exclusive. It may actually help Handel in a primary to have have Price and Chambliss in the race.

[...] Former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel is considering a primary challenge against Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R), the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.  [...]


November 26th, 2012
2:40 pm

I think all of the names mentioned should be in the Primary.

Run whatever floats to the top against one Strong Democrat and the Georgia Senate Problem should be solved!

An observer

November 26th, 2012
2:43 pm

Loony tunes Karen Handel? You have got to be kidding! She needs to go away.

Bill Clinton

November 26th, 2012
2:59 pm

Ms. Handel is the kind of mean spirited demogogue that will keep the Republican party as also rans. Saxby knows how to work with people and he is effective. I agree with An observer.

Road Scholar

November 26th, 2012
3:00 pm

Broun is a joke. Price is one also. Handel, the way she handled the Komen fiasco should be one also. A strong Democrat may have a chance even against Chambliss


November 26th, 2012
3:01 pm

ALMOST anybody but Chambliss would suit me just fine. This guy has never been a conservative. He’d exchange his stripes in for Obama in a heart beat.


November 26th, 2012
3:06 pm

The Tea party brand, in case no one noticed during the presidential election, has peaked and is on the wane. A new brand will mostly likely emerge to grab the public’s attention after the next mid-terms.


November 26th, 2012
3:07 pm

You’d think she’d learned in 2010: Georgia Republicans don’t elect women or minorities to positions considered ‘important’, like US Senate…

Honestly, what Karen should do is encourage Tom Price to run for Senate, and then she should run for his House seat. Because unfortunately, that might be as far as the Georgia GOP electorate is willing to let her go…


November 26th, 2012
3:13 pm

Preview has won the thread, let’s close it up


November 26th, 2012
3:15 pm

The Democrats are really beating the drums for Chambliss in an attempt to make it appear the “Republicans” are eager to tap the Senator for another term. But we are wise to the tactics. There isn’t a bona fide conservative left in Georgia. Take a look at the red state map. That having been said is not to give support for the lack-luster senior senator. He needs go!


November 26th, 2012
3:20 pm

I agree t-pain. Karen Handel is the Cynthia McKinney of the Republican Party. She won a couple of elections, so she thinks all the people support her idiotic views. I would cross over to vote in the Republican primary just to vote against Handel.


November 26th, 2012
3:23 pm


November 26th, 2012
3:25 pm

What’s to gain from running against Saxby?

[...] of former Georgia secretary of state Karen Handel (R) tell the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that she’s mulling a 2014 Republican primary challenge to Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA). Taegan [...]


November 26th, 2012
3:34 pm

Oh hell no! I do not like Chambliss. Never have since I worked for him in college. BUT I will be at his HQ every day making calls and out in the community ringing doorbells if one of these clowns runs against him. At least he has balls enough to stand up for the country instead of just his party or state. I gotta respect that.

Handel you got to be kidding!

November 26th, 2012
3:39 pm

I started to say I wouldn’t vote for Karen Handel for dog catcher but maybe I would. And hope she gets a dog bite. haha


November 26th, 2012
3:43 pm

Who cares? All republicans are corrupt all of the time. Case closed!


November 26th, 2012
3:47 pm

puhlease: wow, that’s very convenient for you. i suppose you think that no democrat has ever done wrong?


November 26th, 2012
3:48 pm

Very sick and tired of the hardheaded, “I’m right/you’re wrong” absoluteness of some Republicans. Saxby Chambliss is right about the tax pledge, and if the tea partiers whine their way to unseating him, they may very well enable the unthinkable – a Democratic senator from Georgia.

Whether you’re a conservative or a liberal, there is one truth: We cannot solve the nation’s problems without compromise on both sides. Anyone unwilling to listen, work with, and talk to the other side has no business in the U.S. senate, or in any political office.

(Sadly, this should preclude “I talk to no one” Obama from holding office, but that didn’t work out so well.)


November 26th, 2012
3:50 pm

Karen Handel just wants to be elected to something. She should be using this time to get her college degree which would give her more credibility. She probably should also be doing some type of workout regimen as well, respectfully, instead of merely office shopping to feed her ego. I liked her initially but she does not listen well, is a know it all, and can be very demeaning to those who work for her. Georgia can do much better than Karen Handel.

Get Real,

November 26th, 2012
3:50 pm

@puhlease, please give facts to back up your idiotic comment.
While demorats have been in control in Washington the last 4 years we have continued to see
medicare /medicaid fraud that runs 10 of millions a year and the dems don’t even bother with that.
Same thing when it comes to the rapid refund tax scams. Same thing when it comes to people breaking the law by coming over our borders and then taking 100’s of millions of aid and entitlements. All of this is document and fact.
Great job by the rats of sitting on their fat bottoms while partying with hollywood leftist and then playing a 100 rounds of golf while doing noting to saving Americans from getting ripped off daily.
Oh wait, we will just make the rich pay for it all.


November 26th, 2012
3:51 pm

Karen Handel, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck all prove you don’t need a college education to make a ton of money off the Tea Party types.

Get Real,

November 26th, 2012
3:52 pm

sorry for the bad typing – misspellings but some people make idiotic generalized comments and it makes me type to dang fast.


November 26th, 2012
3:53 pm

looking for the day i can vote handel against saxby!

Political Mongrel

November 26th, 2012
4:01 pm

Devil vs demon. Big whoop.


November 26th, 2012
4:07 pm

Handel, darling of the far right nutjobs, gave Georgians those idiotic voting machines that have no audit trail, remember? Chambliss, flawed as he is, will beat her like a drum. He’s far more appealing to the mainstream GA voter.


November 26th, 2012
4:07 pm

I am curious. What Democratic candidate could be put up that might beat Saxby? I can’t think of a soul.


November 26th, 2012
4:07 pm

This is a fantastic thing to make Dem’s vote in the republican primary to prevent.


November 26th, 2012
4:07 pm

Clown and Fruitcake Republicans, is this all there is in this state? If the above bunch aren’t 5 nutty peas in a pod I don’t know what is. Surely there are decent intelligent people who can run against these fruitcakes in their districts. Handel, surely they jest..what a loser she is with her fiasco from Komen on her resume and her trying to destroy Plan Parenthood. NO THANKS, been there done that.

Neutral Observer

November 26th, 2012
4:08 pm

I have one basic problem with Handel, and that is her lack of a formal education. I do not presume that a college degree makes one capable ; there are plenty of college grads who are living proof that it does not. I also realize that she has had some real life experiences and jobs which could better prepare her for office. However, how is it that people feel that she is the most qualified person that we can find, for any state-wide elected office, when she has no college degree ? She wanted to be Governor, and now, a U.S. Senator, yet she does not possess even the Associate’s degree that we require as a minimum qualification to be a state park ranger ? Perhaps she should run for County Commissioner while she pursues a college education. ( Yes, I am aware that she briefly held the Secretary of State position.) I just have a really hard time believing that she has the necessary education and knowledge for such an important position, and that she is the best that we can do. If she is the best that we can do, then I fear for our great State..

Reality Check

November 26th, 2012
4:17 pm

There is also the rumor out there that she wants to challenge Casey Cagle. Should be interesting!

johnny t-bone

November 26th, 2012
4:28 pm

Let me know when Handel gets a handle on her education and finishes college. Maybe then I will consider voting for her.
No I won’t, she is unfit to serve irrespective of her education.


November 26th, 2012
4:31 pm

Chambliss is the worst he should be recalled, he is your typical unprincipled politician who will say and do anything to stay in power. He is neither constructive nor creative, his idea of compromise is to go along with the Democrats and he and other Republicans like him are why we are in the mess that we are in as a country. Compromise is a dirty word, you either have principles or you do not. Most politicians do not, they treat principles like it were a virus needed to be killed off by and anti-virus. That anti-virus is compromise, I am embarrassed to have even voted for “big daddy”. I don’t have all the answers but I do no one thing getting guys like Chambliss out of politics would be the best thing for this country. It’s a shame we don’t have any citizens in this country who will run to serve one term and leave, meaning that they are not constantly trying to win re-election, but then again we are turning into an entitlement country so politicians are just another entitlement class.


November 26th, 2012
4:32 pm

@GOP Ken -lmfao how very true. I’m So tired of Karen H. Dingbats like her always think they’re entitled to represent people, just cause they want their name in lights somewhere. That she doesn’t have a degree is so very obvious. People with education listen first then speak. Saxby would surely get 6 more years.


November 26th, 2012
4:36 pm

@ Neutral Observer and Ad….I applaud your comments and feel the same way. Handel just seems like a sour woman. I doubt she would appeal to anyone anymore. Really, why has she not spent the last couple of years getting a college degree?


November 26th, 2012
4:39 pm

GOP, wow time to get the old guard out in Georgia and start fresh with a Progressive Democrat!

[...] of former Georgia secretary of state Karen Handel (R) tell the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that she’s mulling a 2014 Republican primary challenge to Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA). Taegan [...]


November 26th, 2012
4:47 pm

This is why Georgia is looked at as a Bass Ackward state, At some point the campaigns have to be over and you have to govern!!! Why are poor backwards Georgia republicans falling for this again??? If Mr Chambliss wanted sure election in the state he would just tow the Tea Party line.He is actually thinking about the country and the bamas that live here don’t understand that. LOL!


November 26th, 2012
4:53 pm

They are both repulsive!


November 26th, 2012
4:55 pm

Can someone tell me why…


November 26th, 2012
5:07 pm

I work at Fulton County and I worked with Karen Handel, for the love of God please do not let this woman get elected to the Senate. Georgia has enough image problems and she would be a huge obstacle for drawing foriegn investment to the state.


November 26th, 2012
5:14 pm

RUN KAREN RUN! Seriously. Taxby doesn’t represent the State of Georgia.


November 26th, 2012
5:18 pm

“Broun would be an intriguing possibility – if Republicans hadn’t just seen control of the U.S. Senate slip away once more because of ill-phrased, hard-right rhetoric.”

This presumes that Republicans blame their failure to take the Senate on ill-phrased, hard-right rhetoric and that they learn from those failures. The fact that the candidates of 2012 behaved similarly to those of 2010 suggests that neither is true.

We can safely assume that Broun’s rhetoric is not disqualifying in the eyes of either the Republican establishment or, more importantly, Republican primary voters.


November 26th, 2012
5:21 pm

I made a pledge to support Saxby Chambliss when he ran in ‘08. But I care more about Georgia than some 6 year old pledge,so I’m going to vote for anybody else,even if it means handing the election to a Democrat.

See how that works, senator ?


November 26th, 2012
5:35 pm

Would give my combat boots from nam to anyone to run against Chambliss.

From a 72 year old in uniform from 58 to 68.


November 26th, 2012
5:56 pm

@Neutral Observer

November 26th, 2012
4:08 pm

“Perhaps she should run for County Commissioner while she pursues a college education…”

You do realize she was Chairman of the Fulton County Commission before she ran for Secretary of State? Also served in the Bush ‘41 administration (an aide to the VP), as well as being a senior advisor to Gov. Perdue. Experience as a VP-level executive in several private sector companies. No, she doesn’t have a college degree, but what more experience do you want, fer cryin’ out loud?

political arsonist

November 26th, 2012
6:02 pm

jason carter


November 26th, 2012
6:03 pm

Can’t wait to vote democrat!