Deal Leads Handel in Tight Contest in Georgia

I'll have a complete wrap up later but as of now Linda McMahon has won the GOP Senate nod in Connecticut, while Dannel Malloy, the former mayor of Stamford, defeated Ned Lamont for the Democratic Governor's nomination. Michael Bennet outlasted Andrew Romanoff in the Colorado Democratic Senate primary while the other races in Colorado remain to close to call. The Tea Party back candidates Ken Buck and Dan Maes are however both leading their respective races with above 75 percent of the precincts reporting. In Minnesota, the DFL primary for Governor remains too close to call with Margaret Anderson Kelliher edging Mark Dayton with 76 percent of the vote in.

In Georgia, the GOP gubernatorial run-off Congressman Nathan Deal has a small lead in a razor close contest over Karen Handel, the former Secretary of State. With 100 percent of the precincts reporting, Deal received 292,007 votes to Handel's 289,576 though no winner has yet been called. Absentee ballots remain to be counted and given the less than one percent margin, an automatic recount will be triggered.

Handel had been endorsed by Sarah Palin while Deal drew endorsements from Mick Huckabee and Newt Gingrich. The winner faces Democrat Roy Barnes in the Fall.

 

Georgia Governor GOP Primary: Birthers, Bigots and Crooks, Oh My

They say they are running for the GOP nomination but frankly in looking at the top three contenders - there are seven total running - it's abundantly clear that the winner may also hold the title of the last bigot left standing.

First, there's John Oxendine, the four-term Insurance Commissioner. He's a birther but then again so is Representative Nathan Deal, a nine-term member of Congress who representing Georgia’s 9th congressional district and who in December 2009 sent a letter to White House formally questioning President Obama's place of birth. The other major candidate in the race is Karen Handel, the former Georgia Secretary of State. She, to the best of my knowledge, isn't a birther but as the good ol' boys have started to accuse her of being too cozy with the gays, she's resorted to out-bigotting the bigots.

Karen Handel's crime, such as it were, was meeting, yes that's right meeting, with Log Cabin Republicans when she was running for Fulton County Commissioner in 2003 and then cutting them a $75.00 cheque. That led John Oxendine, Rep. Nathan Deal and former State Senator Eric Johnson to charge that she somehow coddled gay interests.

Here's a Nathan Deal ad accusing Karen Handel of lying about her views on gay domestic partnership benefits and gay adoption.

Meanwhile the Oxendine campaign has sent out a mailer (pdf) accusing Handel of being pro-abortion, pro-gay rights and just too liberal for Georgia. Oh the sleaze factor is high but then this the Georgia GOP we are talking about.

But the trifecta sleaze award has to go to Rep. Nathan Deal who is not only a birther and a bigot but corrupt. From Citizens for Responsibilities and Ethics in Washington:

Rep. Deal, along with his business partner Ken Cronan, owns a lucrative business, Recovery Services, Inc., that – through a no-bid contract – provides inspection stations to the state for the inspection of salvaged vehicles. The business earned $1.4 million between 2004-2008 and Rep. Deal personally took home $150,000 a year.

In 2008, Georgia Revenue Commissioner Bart Graham took over responsibility for the inspection system and found the operational costs and locations of the inspection stations to be too costly and restrictive. Comm. Graham decided the best course of action was to reform the system and award contracts through a competitive bidding process.

Rep. Deal and his staff, with assistance from Georgia Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle, arranged meetings with Comm. Graham at which Rep. Deal and his chief of staff were present, to persuade him to reconsider his decisions, including the proposed elimination of $1.7 million that has been allocated for the program. After Comm. Graham’s plan was passed by the Georgia House, Rep. Deal’s chief of staff used his House email to contact Georgia state officials in an effort to stop the plan from passing the state Senate. The money for the program was eventually kept in the budget.

Rep. Deal’s abuse of his position and taxpayer resources to maintain a personally lucrative business deal does not reflect creditably on the House.

For what is worth, Newt Gingrich has endorsed Rep. Nathan Deal while Sarah Palin and Erik Erickson have endorsed Karen Handel. Polls show a close race with no candidate securing the votes to win outright meaning that a run-off is likely. The winner will likely face former Governor Ray Barnes who is coasting towards the Democratic nomination. The 11 Alive interview with Karen Handel is below the fold. It's a train wreck. 

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