Handel ahead by slim margin

Days before Tuesday's runoff, Karen Handel holds a slight edge over Nathan Deal in the GOP race for governor, according to a new statewide poll conducted for the Georgia Newspaper Partnership.

GOP gubernatorial candidates Nathan Deal and Karen Handel stayed on the attack in a debate Saturday. Deal questioned Handel's lack of a college degree, while Handel cited an ethics investigation against Deal.  Johnny Crawford/Associated Press
Johnny Crawford/Associated Press
GOP gubernatorial candidates Nathan Deal and Karen Handel stayed on the attack in a debate Saturday. Deal questioned Handel's lack of a college degree, while Handel cited an ethics investigation against Deal.

Handel leads Deal 47 percent to 42 percent with 11 percent undecided, and the two are battling for voters who supported someone else in the July 20 primary.

The bruising campaign for the Republican nomination has attracted national attention with high-profile endorsements from such GOP stalwarts as former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who is supporting Handel, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who endorsed Deal.

It all ends Tuesday, when GOP voters pick a candidate to face Democratic nominee Roy Barnes and Libertarian John Monds in November.

Though Handel leads overall, the poll found Deal gets nearly a majority -- 48 percent -- of support from voters who backed a losing candidate in the primary. Those voters could be the key to Tuesday's vote, said Brad Coker, the managing director of Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, which conducted the poll.

The question is whether those voters are motivated enough to return to the polls. Coker said he would expect fewer than half of all primary voters to return Tuesday, and those who supported Handel or Deal are the most likely to vote again.

Mike Rogers, 53, of Evans, plans to vote for Handel again Tuesday, mainly because she is a woman.

"I think it's time to let a few women do things. In this state we've had everyone from Lester Maddox to Jimmy Carter. I'm just going to vote for a woman and see what she can do," he said.

But Rogers said he doesn't have anything against Deal and if Handel loses the runoff, he'll vote for Deal over Barnes because of his conservative values.

In the primary, Handel got 34 percent of the vote, followed by Deal with 23 percent. Former state Sen. Eric Johnson took 20 percent and state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine 17 percent.

The new poll shows Handel, a former secretary of state, dominating her home base of metro Atlanta, while Deal did especially well in north Georgia, much of which he represented in Congress for 18 years. Johnson and Oxendine had their best showing in south Georgia, making voters from that region a key Tuesday.

"That belt running from Augusta to Savannah and all the way to Columbus and through Macon -- that's where the race is going to be decided," Coker said.

Poll respondents cited the economy and jobs as the top issues driving them to the polls Tuesday. Handel voters cited economic issues as the top reason they are supporting her; Deal voters cited his experience.

Russell Brown, 73, of Grovetown, said the economy was his "No. 1 issue."

"It's bad at the state level, but it's a horrendous situation at the national level," said Brown, who participated in the poll but wouldn't say whom he would vote for Tuesday, beyond "whichever one can make things work out better."

He said he doesn't want his taxes to go up but knows the debt and public services have to be paid somehow.

"This is the dilemma facing the leaders," Brown said. The founding fathers "would faint if they saw what's going on in the government now."

Handel supporter Benny Frick, of Thomson, said he wants his candidate to work to eliminate President Obama's health care overhaul.

"I've been on Medicare for many years, and it's certainly not going to help me, bringing so many more people into Medicare," he said.

Steve Visser of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Kevin Myrick of the Rome News-Tribune, Terry Dickson of the Georgia Times-Union, Carl Lewis of The (Macon) Telegraph and Larry Gierer of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer contributed to this article.

Tracey McManus is a reporter for The Augusta Chronicle. Aaron Gold Sheinin is a reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Know before you go to the polls Tuesday

In the primary election July 20, voters had to choose a party's ballot: Democrat or Republican. If you voted one party's ballot in the primary, you cannot vote the other party's ballot in the runoff. You have to stick with the party you originally chose. If you did not vote in the primary, you can vote using either ballot in a runoff.

AT THE POLLS

When to vote: Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Anyone in line by 7 p.m. will be allowed to vote.

Photo ID required:

- A Georgia driver's license, even if expired

- Any state or federal government-issued photo ID

- Employee photo ID from any branch, department, agency or entity of the U.S. government, Georgia or any county, municipality, board, authority or other entity of the state

- U.S. passport ID

- U.S. military photo ID

- Tribal photo ID

On the ballot

A look at the races that will be decided in Tuesday's runoff:

REPUBLICAN PRIMARY RUNOFF

Governor: Nathan Deal, Karen Handel

ATTORNEY GENERAL: Sam Olens, Preston Smith

INSURANCE COMMISSIONER: Ralph Hudgens, Maria Sheffield

PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION DISTRICT 2: John Douglas, Tim Echols

U.S. CONGRESS DISTRICT 12: Raymond McKinney, Carl Smith

Note: Ballots in Columbia County and some in Richmond County will include same races, except for U.S. Congress District 12.

DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY RUNOFF

SECRETARY OF STATE: Gail Buckner, Georganna Sinkfield

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Ga Values
27
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Ga Values 08/08/10 - 05:55 am
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Honest woman, Karen Handel vs

Honest woman, Karen Handel vs Corrupt Washington Politician, Nathan Deal. How can anyone vote for Flip Flop Deal?

Riverman1
82180
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Riverman1 08/08/10 - 08:06 am
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Deal made a big mistake when

Deal made a big mistake when he criticized Karen Handel for the lack of a college degree. If that's all he has on her, it ain't much. He knows she came from a broken family and had to drop out of college to go to work. Remind him that Bill Gates and Rush Limbaugh did pretty well without degrees. That attack will hurt him.

Junket831
0
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Junket831 08/08/10 - 09:03 am
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Riverman, at least Bill Gates

Riverman, at least Bill Gates produces something that helps our economy. Rush doesn't produce anything except hot air, which is good entertainment, but really not productive though. Using your analogy almost every major professional sports figure is a success in their chosen field of entertainment, many without college educations. Let's not talk about Hollywood types either. Many of them lack even the basic educational accomplishments beyond a GED. Yet they like to parade themselves in the news media as an expert on this or that. Like Rush they are financial successes because of their entertainment skills. While there is certainly some hard work involved it is extremely difficult to reach that level without God given talent or looks.

In the case of politicians, the bar is set pretty low (look at South Carolina). This means that almost everyone has a chance to run for one office or another. Who cares whether or not Karen Handel went to college or even graduated. What is far more important is what she plans to do when in office.

Batman
18
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Batman 08/08/10 - 09:17 am
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Ms. Handel's lack of a

Ms. Handel's lack of a college degree doesn't bother me at all. Just look at the mess all the 'law' degrees have gotten us into. Our country needs leaders with 'integrity' period.

jojo55
0
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jojo55 08/08/10 - 10:18 am
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Ga.Values, you are so right.

Ga.Values, you are so right. The problem is going to get the voters out to vote. If the women would just get to the polls, then Handel will be our next Governor, otherwise, we will have the same old dirty politician running things again and it will be a sad day for Ga.
Please get out and vote this Tuesday.

crackerjack
150
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crackerjack 08/08/10 - 11:35 am
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I sure hope people in Georgia

I sure hope people in Georgia vote for Maria Sheffield for Tax Commissioner. We need someone that is ethical and not a career politician.
Ralph Hudgens improperly shifted $106 THOUSAND campaign dollars from one account to another to create a false impression of financial support and when caught by his good-old-boy friends, his punishment was to sign a sheet of paper “agreeing” not to violate campaign finance laws in the future.

Don't vote for more business as usual. Give an insurance watchdog non-politician a chance, who is not in the back pocket of the insurance industry.
Vote Maria Sheffield for TAX COMMISSIONER!

And for Attorney General..... Nearly all of Georgia Lawyers endorse Sam Olens. Enough Said!
And his opponent..Preston Smith is who I want to represent us as Attorney General. Someone that stands up for what he promised the people that elected him. See Below...

http://blogs.ajc.com/political-insider-jim-galloway/2010/04/12/preston-

smith-on-prostitutes-pimps-and-puppets-in-the-senate/

These are who I'll vote for in the Runoff Election Tuesday

Many Arrows
-1
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Many Arrows 08/08/10 - 11:24 am
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I got 3 robo calls for Deal

I got 3 robo calls for Deal yesterday. How ironic that Karen Handel is branded by the DEALers as a threat to marriage, but they put Newt Gingrich, the serial wife dumper and womanizer up for robo calls! Then just look at the majority of the floozy-hopping General Assembly for Deal. This is the crowd that made the state capitol look like a brothel. Then there is the matter of all of the womanizing local politicians for Deal. The big threat to marriage sure as heck isn't from Handel. Vote for Handel and then lets throw these lying, lobbyist-loving (literally), losers out where they have to pay for sex instead of getting it free from lobbyists, or - heaven forbid - get it from their wives! Some of these corrupt geezers cannot even dream of bedding knock-outs 30 years younger without their friendly lobbyists' supply. Hahahahaha!!!!!
Gingrich dumped his second wife when she was recovering from cancer surgery in a hospital!!!!! You just can't make this stuff up!

Many Arrows
-1
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Many Arrows 08/08/10 - 11:28 am
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The second robo call was from

The second robo call was from the - no shock here - NRA. These bums have shilled and promoted just about every hideously bad, fake 'republican' incumbent for the last quarter century. Like rap music, I just tune them out.

Many Arrows
-1
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Many Arrows 08/08/10 - 11:35 am
0
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The third one was from Paul

The third one was from Paul Broun. This commenter has now caught Broun shilling for RINO candidates for the third time and is confronting him on it for the third time. In his remarks for Deal, Broun says Deal is steadfast. Obviously Paul hasn't been keeping up with Deal's constant flip-flops (federal ed monies, Clark Hill water transfers to Atlanta, resigning/un-resigning from Congress, addiction to pending bills, etc) or he is letting Deal's bailing him out of debt cloud his vision. It is sad to see one's heroes go bad, but....... 3 strikes and you are OUT.... Deal spins like a weathervane in a tornado, Paul, and you are no longer a straight shooter.

crackerjack
150
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crackerjack 08/08/10 - 11:37 am
0
0
You hit the nail on the head

You hit the nail on the head MANY ARROWS! Nothing left to add.

momster59
0
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momster59 08/08/10 - 11:45 am
0
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Many Arrows - LMAO at your

Many Arrows - LMAO at your 11:24. Well said.

Little Lamb
45280
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Little Lamb 08/08/10 - 01:39 pm
0
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When you think back, you

When you think back, you realize that career legislators seldom make good executives. Legislators like to form committees that meet in backrooms to plot the direction of the state or nation. They hold hearings where they like to feign shock at some person or persons after some event has occurred. They are gladhanders and nervous nellies who need the security of a pack of like-minded jellyfish.

Deal is a long-time legislator. He does not bode well for Georgia's chief executive.

In contrast, Handel has worked in the private sector, has worked in county administration, and has run one of the most important and extensive state agencies, the State department. She has the backbone to make a decision without asking Newt Gingrich or Barbara Sims what they think.

Many Arrows
-1
Points
Many Arrows 08/08/10 - 01:44 pm
0
0
Too many lawyers are in the

Too many lawyers are in the legislatures.

jojo55
0
Points
jojo55 08/08/10 - 01:57 pm
0
0
Please lets get out and vote

Please lets get out and vote and get rid of these good old boy politicians. Women, lets stick together and get Handel in the governor's office so our state can move in a positive direction.

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