We previously endorsed Karen Handel at RedState. In fact, we did it at our RedState Gathering in Atlanta back in August.
Since then, the political landscape in Georgia has become tumultuous and as the dust settles, it is clear that Karen Handel is the front runner, though polling hasnt reflected it yet.
Here is what’s up and why:
The Speaker of the House tried to commit suicide after a messy affair. He quit. The Speaker Pro Tempore had his own sex scandal. He quit. The Lt. Governor is plagued with serious rumors about his fidelity that he has not done a good job of overcoming. The House Appropriations Chairman likewise got a DUI in a car with a woman other than his wife.
Along the way, the alleged front runner for the GOP nomination, Nathan Deal, got caught up in a scandal. It turns out that he owns a company that does lots of business with the state government. His Chief of Staff, when the state thought about canceling those contracts, sent threatening emails to the state. Turns out that Congressman Deal’s sole source of business is these state contracts.
State Senator Eric Johnson, a great guy who I think could potentially make it into a runoff with Handel, is now wrapped in media reports that he dropped the ball on ethics investigations regarding the Lt. Governor and Speaker of the House. The media is not done with this story.
Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine is increasingly showing himself to be Georgia’s version of Rod Blagojevich with worse hair. Oxendine is about to be hit with serious investigations making the case that he has used his office to inappropriately hound insurance agents in the state for campaign contributions, among other things. Given the stories I’ve heard from insurance agents throughout the state, this is one of several serious bombs waiting to go off on the Ox.
Ray McBerry, the perennial candidate, will get no traction.
Jeff Chapman has not shown he really has an intention to get out and campaign statewide.
That leaves State Representative Austin Scott as the second most viable candidate. Untouched by scandal, Scott just walked across the entire state in an effort to build name id. He is sincere, hard working, conservative, but needs to tone down what some people view as a lot of anger on the campaign trail. If he shifts to “happy warrior” mode, he could shine.
This brings us back to Handel. She is most decidedly not one of the boys. Of the top tier candidates — Deal, Johnson, Handel, and Oxendine — she is the only one yet to be touched by media reports of scandal. Honest observers of the race pretty much agree they’d all be surprised if anyone raised something serious and credible about her.
RedState has endorsed Handel, but we have not done a very good job of sending her money. She’s a pro-life, pro-entrepreneur Secretary of State and has given every indication that she would be as Governor too. She knows how to balance budgets and cut waste. She stands out from the pack on the campaign trail. And like with Nikki Haley in South Carolina, we need to help get Karen Handel elected.
We stand on the verge of promoting the next generation of conservatives to office. Karen is one of them and she is one of us. Let’s help her win.