Karen Handel joins crowded Senate race

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ATLANTA — Karen Handel, the former Susan G. Komen for the Cure executive at the center of last year’s public clash with Planned Parenthood, said Friday that she will run for an open U.S. Senate seat in Georgia.

Handel  ASSOCIATED PRESS
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Handel

The Republican field for the seat held by U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, who is retiring next year, was already crowded. Three of Geor­gia’s GOP congressmen – Paul Broun of Athens, Phil Gingrey of Marietta and Jack Kingston of Savannah – have announced plans to run.

Handel, 51, sought to distinguish herself from the rest of the field by calling herself “a fresh voice.”

“What we need is less Washington in Washington,” she said. “Someone who is going to be tough and not kick the can down the road.”

The former Georgia secretary of state is expected to tap quickly into her statewide network of supporters and start raising money to compete with the sizeable campaign cash already secured by Kingston and Gingrey.

Handel has been traveling the country in recent months, talking with anti-abortion groups about her time with Komen and the public outcry over the breast cancer charity’s decision to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood.

Komen quickly reversed course amid intense public criticism and Handel resigned, earning the support of conservatives. She wrote a book about her experiences called Planned Bullyhood, in which she criticized both sides for the way they handled the situation.

Handel wrote that Komen had long been considering whether to end Planned Parenthood funding for breast-cancer education and screening in order to get out of the abortion debate. When Handel joined the organization as vice president of public policy in 2011, she was tasked with finding ways to make the split, she wrote.

“It was not our issue. It had become a major distraction, sucking up manpower and putting a damper on fundraising,” wrote Handel, who had opposed abortion during her campaigns in Georgia.

The 2010 governor’s race was bruising as Handel criticized what she labeled “a good old boys club” at the state Capitol, calling for ethics reform with a speech titled “sex, lies and lobbyists” that distanced her from party leaders. While she received the most votes in the primary, it was not enough to avoid a runoff with Nathan Deal, who eventually won the general election.

During the race, she did not gain the support of the Georgia Right to Life group. Handel opposes abortion, but she has said she supports exceptions for rape and incest. She also disagreed with the group’s president over the issue of in-vitro fertilization. Handel has spoken publicly about her struggle to have children and wrote in her book that she and her husband had considered in-vitro but decided against it on the advice of their physician.

Melanie Crozier, who directs Georgia Right to Life’s political action committee, made clear Friday that Handel hasn’t settled the issue.

“GRTL would welcome the opportunity to consider endorsing Mrs. Handel if she commits to protecting all innocent human life at every stage of development,” Crozier said in a statement.

It appears Handel will not have the benefit of support from former Gov. Sonny Perdue, a mentor of hers over the years. Handel briefly served as Perdue’s deputy chief of staff before leaving the administration to run for chairman of the Fulton County Commission, a race she won. Perdue has announced support for his cousin, David Perdue, the former CEO of Dollar General and Reebok and a Republican who is exploring a bid for the Senate race.

Kelly Loeffler, an executive with the Atlanta-based company that recently bought the New York Stock Exchange and a co-owner of Atlanta’s professional women’s basketball team, has also been mentioned as a possible Republican candidate.

Democrats are still looking for a candidate, but they celebrated Handel’s entry into the race.

“The divisive Republican primary appears to get more volatile by the day and is certain to produce a nominee that is too extreme for mainstream Georgians,” said Justin Barasky, spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Democratic U.S. Rep. John Barrow of Augusta has ruled out a bid. Democrats’ focus has now shifted to Michelle Nunn, daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn and CEO of the nonprofit volunteer organization Points of Light. Nunn is expected to announce her decision in the coming weeks.

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Little Lamb
43941
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Little Lamb 05/17/13 - 10:40 am
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0
Error

The last paragraph is misleading. Here is a more accurate quote from the Washington Post:

Handel, a former secretary of state, narrowly lost the GOP primary for governor in 2010 and is expected to tap quickly into her statewide network of supporters. Handel was a top Komen executive when the charity announced plans to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood. It later reversed course amid a public outcry, and Handel resigned earning support from conservatives.

Dixieman
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Dixieman 05/17/13 - 12:05 pm
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I WILL CONTRIBUTE MY POINTS TO HER CAMPAIGN

A strong candidate. Paul Broun is cool, but cannot win a statewide election.

soapy_725
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soapy_725 05/17/13 - 02:00 pm
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Her office won the largest broker fraud case in the
Unpublished

history of Georgia. She fought one of the largest brokerage firms in the USA and was able to reunite victims with their life savings.

She had my vote for governor, until she was tagged teamed by two male crooks and she has it now.

soapy_725
43555
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soapy_725 05/17/13 - 02:02 pm
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Isaackson is next on the list to replace.
Unpublished

Even though he will be living high on the gravy train for eternity.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 05/17/13 - 02:09 pm
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Me, Too

Yes, Dixieman. I supported her for governor, and time has proven that the state made the wrong choice.

I will support her for senator, also.

faithson
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faithson 05/17/13 - 06:10 pm
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1
broun

I am going to switch parties in the primaries and vote/support Broun. Than in the election I will change course and vote for the democrat, thus providing for the embaressment of the republican party that Broun really is.

itsanotherday1
40358
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itsanotherday1 05/17/13 - 07:17 pm
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Dittos for me LL.

Dittos for me LL.

Darby
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Darby 05/17/13 - 09:13 pm
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"Than (sic) in the election I will change course

and vote for the democrat, thus providing for the embaressment (sic) of the republican party that Broun really is."

.
Not sure what you were saying there, but if I get your drift, .........

Broun would have to make it onto the general election ballot in order for whatever it is you are trying to do to make any sense.

That's not going to happen.

gargoyle
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gargoyle 05/17/13 - 10:11 pm
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Switching party in the

Switching party in the primary to force a weak opponent.Isn't that admiting to moral bankrupcy?

Darby
23622
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Darby 05/18/13 - 12:48 am
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"Switching party in the primary to force a

weak opponent. Isn't that admitting to moral bankruptcy?"

.
Don't know about that, but in a state like Georgia, where you are not allowed (or required) to register by party affiliation, it's guaranteed to happen on both sides when your party does not have a real contest going in the primary election.

Bodhisattva
5633
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Bodhisattva 05/18/13 - 05:56 am
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Please let there be about 20

Please let there be about 20 GOP primary debates and give them each all the time they want to speak. We'll show those other states that they can't out crazy Georgia.

soapy_725
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soapy_725 05/18/13 - 09:10 am
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Where is Lee Anderson?
Unpublished

Get out that tractor Lee !!!

Darby
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Darby 05/18/13 - 11:28 am
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"Please let there be about 20 GOP primary

debates.... "

.
That might make for sound reasoning, except for the fact that it isn't the Republicans who are making the speeches exalting higher and higher taxes and ceding more and more control or our freedom to the government as a way out of all our problems.

The folks who learned nothing from the failures of Marx, Lenin, Mao or Castro are the real nuts.

You talk about crazy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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