Secretary of State Candidates Karen Handel and Charlie Bailey spoke this morning at the Gwinnett GOP monthly breakfast meeting. Bailey appeared to be ill and kept losing his train of thought as he spoke, which unfortunately for Charlie, left folks with a less than favorable impression of him. Hopefully it’s nothing serious and Charlie will get well soon.
Karen Handel touted her budget cutting measures (as reported by Erick in this post) and went on to speak a lot about her plans to improve the Secretary of State’s office. Handel claimed (and it was backed up by the Gwinnett elections board members who were present) that Cathy Cox made no preparations to implement the Voter ID law and gave local elections offices no guidelines. Of course an injunction was issued against implementation of the law, but she did not know that in advance and should have issued instructions for any special elections as well as November’s municipal elections. Handel claimed she would never take it upon herself, as SoS, to ignore laws the legislature passes. She also took Cox to task for Cox’s selective enforcement of ethics laws, for example the soft treatment of Cynthia McKinney’s campaigning at the polling place and her Dad’s rough handling of a election official a few years back. Handel frequently made mention of her plan to make the SoS more customer friendly – another area in which she says Cox has failed.
Former Gwinnett Commission Chairman Wayne Hill was in attendance, which, coupled with a recent fundraiser Handel had in Gwinnett, could indicate Handel has some strength among Gwinnett’s business community. I’ll keep an eye on how that develops, but I think we’ve got a race on our hands for Secretary of State, at least on the Republican side.