Stephens goes after Handel

Bill Stephens’ campaign for Secretary of State released a statement today, titled:

“Handel attacks Stevens and claims she ‘outraises the entire field’ – yet trails a first time, unelected Democrat by nearly $100,000”

This is in response to a statement released by the Handel Campaign earlier this week, claiming to outraise the other candidates in the SoS race.

Can someone set the record strait here?  How about representatives from both campaigns help clarify this matter? 

Here is the rest of Stephens’ statement:

If Karen Handel counts votes the way she counts her campaign contributions, Georgia’s election machinery will be in questionable hands if she’s elected Secretary of State.

Two days ago, Handel claimed to “outraise the entire field,” including Bill Stephens, in fundraising– in spite of the fact she trails Stephens by over $150,000 in money raised to this point and trails an unelected, first-time Democrat named Shyam Reddy by almost $100,000.

Handel’s questionable math stems from her December 31 disclosure, in which she raised $240,000, compared to $400,000 for Stephens and $334,000 for Reddy. Handel holds a small lead in cash-on-hand, but her disclosure also appears to have odd gaps in reported expenditures.

Handel also took a cheap shot at Stephens by oddly claiming he “lost” money during his off-year fundraising and proclaiming herself the “real conservative” in the race for Secretary of State.

“Senator Stephens moved up many of his campaign activities so he could keep his promise to serve in the legislature where he can’t raise money or campaign. This contrasts with Karen Handel’s actions, promising to run for re-election and then bailing out for another office,” said Stephens’ campaign manager Katie Grove. “We started tapering expenses in November and spent $125,000 less than other statewide campaigns overall. I want to know how Karen Handel’s running a viable statewide race if she is actually spending as little as she claims? She’s either hiding expenses or she never leaves Atlanta, where she raised over 90 percent of her money.”

Stephens’ campaign also pointed out a glaring streak of political opportunism in Handel’s recent political career, including her insinuations she is the only ethical candidate in the race.

“Handel ran for Fulton County commission pandering to gay groups by supporting gay adoption. Now, she’s against both and suddenly calls herself a ‘conservative.’ Last year, she promised to run for re-election, but is now bailing out. She gets beat by a no-name Democrat in fundraising, and yet she says she ‘wins’ the fundraising race,” said Grove. “Karen Handel is a political opportunist of amazing proportions.”

“We have had enough of Handel’s political opportunism and cheap shots on ethics, and we are going to set the record straight,” said Grove. “Bill Stephens continues to be the only candidate with a consistent record of conservative leadership.”


  1. 4ofspades says:

    Wire I don’t represent either campaign, although I support Handel. Here’s the first line from Handel’s press release:

    “Karen Handel, the last candidate to enter the Republican Primary for Secretary of State, reported on Monday that her campaign had raised nearly one-quarter of a million dollars during the reporting period ending December 31, 2005, easily outdistancing all of the candidates in the race.”

    It clearly states that she’s looking at the current disclosure period.

    Here are the numbers for the 12/31 period:

    Karen Handel 240,647
    Angela Moore 198,050.50
    Shyam Reddy 190,794.23
    Bill Stephens 171,365.05
    Bill Stephens 227,235 – 6/30 disclosure

    You may also recall that Stephens issued a press release after his 6/30 disclosure saying he had set the record for the SOS race. As you can see Handel beat that also.

  2. Jackets over Dogs says:

    I can speak for the Stephens campaign. Karen Handel has holes in her disclosure or she too would have spent more money. Bill’s staff thought it was time to point that out after thier HARSH press release a few days ago. Handel alleged that the Stephens campaign “lost money” in 2005, that isn’t true. They spent more than they raised for the last disclosure period but they still have tons, TONS, left. You can spend money like a Governatorial campaign when you are breaking fundraising records like Bill Stephens. No one has mentioned it yet, but Stephens even raised 25,000 between New Years and the session. When the session gets out he will be able to raise so much more money anywyays.

  3. 4ofspades says:

    So add the $25k to $171k and you still only get $196k. Anglea Moore rasied more that that in the disclosure period. You might also notice that Handel broke Stephen’s single disclosure period fundraising record. As far as tons left:

    Cash on hand to date as of 12/31:
    Karen Handel 202,393.69
    Bill Stephens 154,842.75

    If Stephens keeps up his current burn rate he’ll end the session with about $50k

  4. 4ofspades says:

    I happen to like numbers, so let’s assume that Handel has the same drop off from one disclosure period to the next as Stephens had (I included the $25k he raised in Jan.). He raised 86% in his second disclosure period as his first disclosure period. Apply the 86% to Handel and you get $206,956 that would put you at $447,603.

    I do understand the meaning of assume 🙂 but I thought it was an interesting exercise.

  5. law303peachtreeroad says:

    I think it is safe to ASSUME that with all the legislators in session the political climate will be geared more towards law making than fundraising for the next few months. Karen will have a tough time raising 80% of her last disclosure, especially now that she has gotten all the money she can out of Fulton County.

  6. RonaldJFehr says:

    Maybe the mud is slinging because this atypically warm weather has kept it from being frozen? If it is out there and folks want to get dirty, then sling on!

    For the sake of my model I have included statewide Republican candidates only from the Gov, Lt. Gov, Secretary of State and Agriculture races. Having read the press releases from both SoS campaigns I will expand the model crudely used in the Handel press release over all of the races.

    Candidates are listed by race, then alphabetically. Zero favoritism here:

    Perdue expenses 662,164.13/ contributions 2,594,997.97 = .2552

    Cagle expenses 266,416.54/ contributions 657,315.96 = .4053
    Reed expenses 270,338.56/ contributions 386,718.72 = .6991

    Handel expenses 38,253.31/ contributions 240,647.00 = .1590
    Stephens expenses 196,252.56/ contributions 171,365.05 = 1.1452

    Black expenses 88,624.04/ contributions 293,198.20 = .3023
    Kemp expenses 122,259.54/ contributions 248,666.14 = .4917

    Again, as with my last detailed post, there is plenty to be derived from the above numbers.

    The ratios represented by dividing expenses into contributions give us the amount of money in dollars spent on each dollar raised for the most recent disclosure period ending December 31. This is how the Handel campaign arrived at the conclusion that Bill Stephens spends 1.15 for every 1.00 he raises.

    First, I will reverse my previous statement that Karen was hurt by being the last in her race. In light of this model she seems to be at an advantage because of her delayed entry. That said, her dollars spent per dollar raised will have to increase (it will likely double to a reasonable .32 or so) over time.

    Four of the seven candidates are spending between one and two quarters for every dollar they raise. This is responsible and the most realistic expenditure model at this point in any race. Given the different dynamics of each race it will make sense for that ratio to increase faster for some candidates than for others.

    Reed 270,338.56/ Cagle 266,416.54 = 1.0147
    Kemp 122,259.54/ Black 88,624.04 = 1.3795
    Stephens 196,252.56/ Handel 38,253.31 = 5.1303

    Since Perdue has no opposition we will exclude him here. In the Lt. Gov race expenses were nearly identical, and in the Agriculture race the Kemp campaign spent about 1/3 more money, but with Brian heading to session it makes enough sense that they could have pushed a little harder last period than Black’s campaign.

    Either way the Ag race isn’t an issue, but in the SoS race Stephens spent 5 dollars for every 1 that Handel spent. At this rate the $50 I predicted Stephens would have left by the end of the session might be generous, he will probably be in debt.

    Sorted per dollar expenditures:
    1.1452 Stephens
    0.6991 Reed
    0.4917 Kemp
    0.4053 Cagle
    0.3023 Black
    0.2552 Perdue
    0.1590 Handel

    In conclusion, Stephens spends 45 cents more for each dollar he raises than his closest competitor, Ralph Reed. Reed has his own issues and is seeing the fund-raising dry up. By going to the next person down the list Stephens spends 65 cents more per dollar raised than Bryan Kemp. No emotional, juvenile and angry press release from campaign headquarters is enough to downplay the obvious, Stephens has a tough time handling money, personally and professionally.

    It is a shame that, at least for a moment, we are more caught up in the finances of these campaigns than the platforms. I think Stephens is backing a great bill that Georgia badly needs to ensure safe, fair and tamper-free elections. It’s too bad he couldn’t get Jesse Jackson behind a microphone to debate the merits of his conservative ideas. He could do himself a favor though and turn off the spigot when it comes to spending.

  7. GAWire says:

    Is “Governatorial” a word?

    Spades, just fyi, I was just making a report as to the releases that I was looking at from both campaigns. I intentionally left out any analysis and I didn’t think I was being partial to either side, which is why I requested reps from both camps to speak. Still, I am no journalist!

    Good discussion, though – keep it coming! Apparently someone has spoken for the Stephens campaign. What about Marty or Bob from Karen’s side?

    As for my own analysis of this particular “story,” I did think it was odd for a hit like this so early, not that it will make a big difference in the long run. Stephens is definitely coming out hard, and probably doesn’t want Handel to think that he is letting his guard down b/c the Session has started.

    One note on semantics, the title of the release is a little rough; nevertheless, at least we have some action coming over the net from these campaigns.

    As for other fundraising numbers mentioned above, I did notice that Reed released a statement on his groundbreaking fundraising numbers, even though they had declined since the last reporting period.

    As for the Governor’s race, I still don’t see how anyone believes that Cox or Taylor will have enough to compete with Sonny in the General, especially after they use it all up against each other! Of course, they were saying the same thing about us 4 yrs ago. Still, Taylor donating $1M of his own dollars is a significant factor, especially due to the fact that things are on hold for a few months. He also won’t be able to do that again after the Primary if I am not mistaken. Not too surprised there wasn’t more “focus” on that issue from others, although, I know that it is helping the GOP.

  8. RonaldJFehr says:


    I appreciate what I see as a compliment on my analysis, but to answer your question – no. As much fun as it would be to get involved in this campaign I’m not even decided on who I support. I’m saving all of my energy for the push Sonny is going to need this fall.

    I will tell you why the Secretary of State’s race is important to me. As far as decisions go on who to vote for, it is the top of the ticket. I personally like Ralph Reed, and like the idea of him representing Georgia, but not with the allegations that seem to circulate daily. I think Cagle is the right and safe choice for the ticket this year, but would love to support Ralph sometime later. Once you get past Governor, and Lt. Gov, the Secretary of State’s office, in the absence of a Senate campaign, is the highest profile race this July.

    In spite of the attacks each campaign is lobbing I personally like Bill’s Bill, and I like that he has been elected to an office that has an impact on statewide concerns even if it isn’t a statewide office. As for Karen, right now I just think she knows how to pay for a campaign, but I know little of her ambition for the office. With his past, Stephens was the candidate who needed to deliver the most prudent disclosure on Monday and he failed to do that. I guess it’s now on Karen to raise money through the session, and make her stance on some issues a little better known. As someone pointed out, the fundraising may be tough with all the attention paid to the session, but I still think it is an advantage to be able to chase the dollars for the next few months.


  9. 4ofspades says:

    Handel issued this this afternoon:

    Since They Asked!

    How Conservatives Run a Campaign

    Senator Bill Stephens launched yet another in a series of bizarre attacks on Secretary of State Candidate Karen Handel — apparently in response to Handel out-raising and under-spending him in the reporting period ending December 31, 2005.

    For the reporting period, Handel, the last candidate to enter the race, raised $240,647.00 while Stephens raised $171,365.05. Handel spent $38,253.31 while Stephens spent $196,252.56.

    In a perplexing statement, Stephens campaign manager Katie Grove was quoted as saying, “I want to know how Karen Handel is running a viable statewide race if she is actually spending as little as she claims.

  10. GAWire says:

    Those are intersting numbers – even though I am still surprised by the volleys here, looks like Handel’s team is here to compete!

  11. Decaturguy says:

    This stuff is hystarical. Bill Stephens is a sleazebag and if he runs the Secretary of State’s office like he runs his campaign then what a disaster that will be!

  12. DoubleDawg3 says:

    I’ll give Brian this (by the way – I wasn’t knocking Ellijay/Gilmer – I love Gilmer county – beautiful place – but growing & changing like every other place in N. GA – i.e. new Wal Mart, Longhorns and that whole shopping center) – If Robert Lamutt enters the race and he ties up $3million of his own cash (although again, why would he want to waste it on being SOS – I’ll never know that one – I guess it’s b/c I don’t have 3million to throw around) then I believe he’ll make it into a runoff.

    I’m all for Bill Stephens, I like Stephens, I’ll vote for him and encourage others to vote for him – but if someone is tying up 3million, then they’ve got a good shot – no matter who it is. I mean, look at the race against Clay & Price…I never would have thought Lamutt makes it into a runoff, but he did – b/c he had tons of money (his own mostly) to spend on advertising. That’s Bill Stephens game right there — don’t do the small stuff that no one remembers b/c everyone else is doing it – go with a big , all out media campaign that sets you apart …and if Lamutt puts in $3million+, he can do that too

    If and when he does enter, it’s going to be interesting to see if any of the Senators break off from Stephens for Lamutt. Yet, that’s a very, very minor issue – the bigger question is going to be how that whole area will vote…if he’s in, then you have 3 candidates centered in North Fulton,/North Cobb/Cherokee area – that’ll be interesting.

  13. DoubleDawg, if been through recently if you already know about the Longhorns. We are getting an outlet mall and Starbucks too. Its not the same town I grew up in and I just graduated in 2001.

    As for Lamutt (if that is who I am talking about…I have not named names yet, just went off of your suggestion) He is from Cobb and has represented the populated part of Cherokee for a number of years. I think he would easily take Cobb and Cherokee due to numbers and name ID along. 75% of Cherokee lives in 25% of it…Townlake and the city of Woodstock along 92. That was all of Roberts Senate district. He starts with a minium of 12% right there.

    Bill has represented something like 20 Counties across North Georgia now, most of them have been very small like my home of Ellijay, or Fannin/Union where he is from. The biggest of them are of course Cherokee and Forsyth with equalled only 7% of the 02 (R) primary combined, and Robert at least gets half of Cherokee. I say Bill starts out with less than 6%.

    Karen has represented a County bigger than several States, but unfortunately mostly Democratic. Fulton is just over 6% of the (R) primary. With Bob Irvin in the US Senate race in 02, it only increased to 6.57%. And you have to remember the grueling 04 Primary for Congress, While Robert lost, he received over 5,000 votes out of Fulton. While not a lot, Fulton will only turn out around 26,000 votes this year. That is a good base to start from.

    This was all comprised using 02 and 04 numbers and trends. Check my math. What do yall think. I will feel better after a poll, but right now I feel pretty damn good if the mystery candidate is in fact Lamutt. Any other guesses on candidates. I will run there numbers too.

  14. law303peachtreeroad says:

    Lamutt isn’t going to get into the race. He knows Stephens is too strong statewide. Let’s end the talk on mystery candidates joining the race with these crazy million dollar plus figures as well. If Lamutt had that much money he would have put it into his Congressional race in 04. Stephens has done a poll, double digit lead. This race is over, let’s worry about Sonny and Ralph.

  15. Jackets over Dogs says:

    I agree with Law on this one. The 10 million dollar closing or not, Lamutt has no business in this race. Someone who has been benethe the Gold Dome for the past two years has too many contacts and is too large an obstacle for Lamutt to overcome. The polls speak for themselves, Lamutt should wait for the next go-round. If he doesn’t he’ll quickly learn that Stephens is a much better campaigner with deeper pockets than Nick Price ever had, and we saw how that worked out.

    PS this one isn’t from Fulton County, so why don’t you wake up.

  16. 4ofspades says:

    Jackets – Nick Price is a golfer. Tom Price is the US District 6 congressman that beat Lamutt.

    One would think that after spending $100k in 6 months on staff and consultants that they would recommend distributing a poll that showed a double digit lead.

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