Rusty Paul Signs On With Bill Stephens

From the Stephens campaign:

Building on the positive momentum that has defined his campaign for Secretary of State since he announced his candidacy in March, Senator Bill Stephens announced today that former Senator and new Sandy Springs City Councilman Rusty Paul will join his campaign team as a senior advisor and co-chair of Stephens’ statewide committee.

“No one knows Georgia and Georgia voters better than Rusty Paul. We served together in the first Republican Majority transition team in 134 years,” Stephens said Friday. “Rusty’s historic election as councilman for the new city of Sandy Springs with 82 percent of the vote is indicative of his unprecedented skill as a public servant and political strategist. There is no tougher fighter or better friend to have in Fulton County or in a Georgia statewide campaign.”

Paul will be involved in multiple aspects of the campaign, particularly Fulton and metro area grassroots and strategy, fundraising, and overall campaign strategy.

“Bill Stephens is one of the most consistent, steadfast defenders of our conservative principles in Georgia politics today,” Paul commented Friday. “I am honored to be an integral part of his campaign for Secretary of State and will do everything in my power to make sure Bill is elected next November. Bill Stephens is the kind of leader this state needs.”


  1. Bull Moose says:

    I think that Bill Stephens is working hard and doing the right things to win. I have been impressed with his efforts and have also decided to support him.

  2. Bill Simon says:

    Without Rusty Paul onboard, Bill Stephens wouldn’t have had a chance. With Rusty on his side, the messages coming out of the Stephens campaign will have some kind of coherency to them.

    However, with the amount of negative static Stephens has on him (that is, information that will repel the normal primary voter), it won’t matter who Stephens gets onboard his campaign because it will still stink.

  3. 4ofspades says:

    I agree that Rusty can come up with messages. The issue is – name how many campaigns that he has been an advisor on that the candidate has actually won.

    Not sure I agree with the comment about Bill working hard, where’ he been and what’s he been doing (other than write an op-ed for the NY Times)?

  4. Bill Simon says:

    4ofSpades: In answer to your question, many more than a handful. Not only his own state senate race in 2000 in a field of 5 candidates, but Rusty just won his own Sandy Springs Council race.

    He did Ed Lindsey’s race last year who won a runoff. There are likely several others that will come to me later.

    4ofspades, don’t make this race the issue of how many races Stephens’ advisors have run and won…I’ve made that error on too many occasions, and realized that is mostly an irrelevant measure (unless, it is Ralph Reed/Linda Hamrick who is the campaign advisor in a race, or Whit Ayres who is the pollster of a campaign…). 🙂

  5. 4ofspades says:

    Bill – I’ll agree this race isnt about who the advisors are or how many they have won. I just dont see why the excitement of Rusty being on board Stephens campaign.

  6. Ben King says:

    Am I overestimating how much this is directly related to Stephens’ opponent? Isn’t this intended to nullify Karen Handel in her own backyard? Maybe not completely ‘nullify’, but at least give Stephens an ‘in’ into North Fulton? If Stephens wasn’t running against Handel would this be as big of a deal?

    This isn’t about coherency of message, although for all I know that will happen as well. I’d say it is a sign that Stephens fears Handel, and is going to go straight at her base to try and knock her off her game there so she has to spend time there instead of explaining her gay-friendly record in other parts of the state.

    But that’s just my take, I could be totally off, I don’t pretend to be an expert on y’alls primaries.

  7. Ben Raspail says:

    Ben King- I don’t think I’d take this as a sign of “fear” from Stephens, but I think you’re right-on that this announcement undercuts Handel’s base in Fulton. Looks like Mr. Paul is actually endorsing Bill Stephens, not taking a job with him as some of ya’ll are insinuating. There’s a BIG difference. I just checked out Stephens’ campaign website – – and Mr. Paul is listed as a “co-chair” of the campaign steering cmtee (along with Jamie Reynolds and Virgil Williams), not as a staffer. Just thought that was an important distinction to make in this thread. I would think that this announcement has got to hit Mrs. Handel pretty hard.

  8. Ben King says:

    the initial posting says he’s joined as a ‘senior advisor and co-chair’. So he’s definately doing more than endorsing Stephens, and looks like he’ll be doing some work, too.

    I wouldn’t call him a ‘staffer’, however. He’s an experienced legislator and has a long, strong history in north Fulton. My first post may have given the impression that I thought this was just a ‘dog and pony show’ type of move, but the little I know of Mr. Paul makes me think he’ll be invaluable to Stephens campaign in the area, in more ways than just being a name.

  9. 4ofspades says:

    If Stephens wanted to go after her base in Fulton, why wasn’t he at the Fulton County Republican Victory dinner last night? Both Casey & Ralph were there.

    It was interesting to see “Rusty supporters” and Bill Shaw (Rusty’s partner in other campaigns) sporting Karen Handel stickers.

  10. I agree. This move is very political. Having been a staffer on Karen Handels campaign for Chairman, Karen had no better friend in Fulton county than Rusty Paul. He was her closest ally and advisor. That being said, this deflection is noteworthy, noteworthy to the extent of “why is Rusty choosing Bill over Fultons native daughter, and what will this do to Karens base in the county.”

    Rusty Paul proves to be a big asset. HE helped the Governor in 02 when no one gave Sonny a snowballs chance in hell and worked as a “co-chair and senior advisor,” he did the same thing for Tom Price in 04.

    This is bad news for Karen.

  11. 4ofspades says:

    Thanks Bill – it should be Bob.

    Brian, I would disagree with your view of “closest ally and advisor” Rusty didn’t have anything to do with the Chairman’s race.

    Handel’s Fulton base is not going to leave her becasue Rusty in on the Stephens campaign

  12. Maurice Atkinson says:

    “why is Rusty choosing Bill over Fultons native daughter, and what will this do to Karens base in the county.

  13. Maurice,

    I am just making the point that Rusty kept Fulton intact for Tom Price, and turned out the voters to the tune of 80% for Price in the run-off. This was huge. Rustys deflection show a branching off this old strategy.

  14. Maurice Atkinson says:

    I wasn’t criticizing, just an observation from someone south of the metro area. I think we have the best opportunity to win this office next year. In fact, if we can get beyond the LG crap we can bolster a respectable team. I think Sonny’s positives outweigh his negatives, and South Georgians are proud of him. Perry is an excellent person (a committed Christian, a hard worker and loyal), and it seems to me that we have good and capable candidates for SoS. If next legislative session is good (no SB 5’s) and we minimize the drama in the LG race we should do well.

    BTW, Matt is a good guy, one heck of a worker.

  15. Silence says:

    Harrumph. Well, Brian, I shook the President’s hand one time, how bout THEM apples?

    In all seriousness, this really presents an interesting question. Note that I’m not arguing this to be true, I’m presenting my thought process for everyone’s critique. I could easily be wrong, but I’ve assumed ever since Handel jumped in that Sonny had recruited her. Why? Because the Governor’s campaign assumes, somewhat safely, that they will be running against Cathy Cox, and will naturally be weak in the women’s vote. Hence the desire to have a fairly popular (and now known to be liberal) woman on the ticket with him.

    Which brings me to my current question: if this is the case, surely Rusty knew this had taken place, and surely he knew that his support of Bill would be a slap in Karen’s face, and indirectly, the Governor himself. I know Rusty, and I know he’s no dummy. He wouldn’t jepeordize his other interests by making a foolish move like that. I reckon it brings me to the point that most likely, Handel did NOT come from the Governor’s camp to this race. Where did she come from?

    One must naturally assume, then, that the candidate of choice for the Governor would most likely be Stephens. What does that mean for the other statewide races?

    Clear as mud now?

  16. Simple. Fulton County Chairmen races will always go Democrat, except in ….

    Special Elections.

    Go back through the history of Fulton Politics and you will notice Scandalakis, Kenn and Handel were all elected (barely) and in special elections. Karen is smart enough to know that if her political career is to go any further, it has to be outside of Fulton County.

  17. 4ofspades says:

    Brian, The last 3 Fulton County Chairman have been Republican – Kenn won his second term in a general election. (I dont remember what Mitch did) As far as Handel in the special she took 53% of the vote in a 4 person race – that is huge.

  18. Maurice Atkinson says:

    A proactive Republican would be one who genuinely wants to make a difference and not simply maintain the status quo. The SoS’s office needs to be run more efficiently. All business conducted in Georgia runs directly through this office. All professional licenses are maintained as well. Given the magnitude of the job it would behoove whoever occupies this seat to seek out ways to make the office efficient.

    I can tell you this. There are problems with the current occupant with managing professional licenses. Communication is not efficient or effective. Once the problems are identified, move to seek out solutions.

    That would be Proactive.

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