Why Karen Handel Earned My Support

I am a conservative. While many have taken that word and begun to apply it to fringe activities that advance their agenda using government power, I still believe in conservatism as it was originally intended. Limited Government. Individual Responsibility. Self Determination.

In order to implement these ideals, we must protect the ideal of keeping decisions that are necessary from government as close to the people as possible. As such, I believe the principle of local control is among the most essential to conservatism.

When I ran against an incumbent Republican for State Senate, I did it over votes that affected my home county adversely. Specifically, Roy Barnes HB 1187 was an anathema to Fayette County residents who had built the best public school system in the state, only to be told that we would have to cede authority over those schools to Atlanta bureaucrats. The bill also redirected funding from our county to those counties who weren’t willing to tax themselves in order to support their own public school system. I spent my own money and time to make the point clear: We needed a representative who understood that government is best closest to the people it serves.

As I began my decision of whom to support for Governor, I started with the basis of not wanting to return to the Atlanta power consolidation of Roy Barnes, which I have to admit, has continued in many forms under Republican rule. I also knew that there was no scenario in which I could support John Oxendine. That left me with Casey Cagle, whom I had previously supported, and Karen Handel, whom I voted for in the runoff for Secretary of State but did not know personally. At the time, I was not comfortable with either, but began to watch and learn.

When Cagle dropped out of the race, I saw an opportunity to move to Lynn Westmoreland. That never came to pass, but I was assured by my friends who also wanted Westmoreland that Nathan Deal was the next best thing. I continued to watch and learn. And then, we had an October of Ghetto Grandmothers, asking our elected President to prove his citizenship, and a Congressional ethics investigation. I moved on.

I had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know Austin Scott, but he ultimately decided to be the next Congressman from middle Georgia.

During this same time, I have gotten to know Karen and Steve Handel, and am now proud to call them friends. I wrote about seeing Karen speak to a group of Young Republicans the first time I saw her speak, and remain impressed at how she handled that crowd. I really hated every question that was asked. Each question presumed an answer, and was really a small speech from the questioner stating “Don’t you agree with me that….”. The thing is, Karen didn’t agree with most of the premises of each question. She was able to respond in such a way that left the person agreeing with her, while stating her position and giving detailed answers.

And most importantly, buried somewhere within each answer, was a component of local control.

As I’ve continued to watch and learn, Karen has remained constant. When she discusses “comprehensive tax reform”, she always adds that we need to make sure local governments aren’t adversely impacted and their revenues remain theirs. That’s a far cry from the attempt at passing a “Great Tax” where the House kept telling local governments “trust us”. “Trust us” is Atlanta speak for “screw you”.

I was able to take a few co-workers to see Karen at her bus tour in Fayetteville last week. At the end of which, Fayette’s former commission chairman spoke about how Karen served with him on the ARC, and was the only one who cared about the impacts of local governments, and other county governments, when she served there. She’s been in the shoes of local government, and understands how a possibly well-meaning but still overreaching state government can impact them. I want someone with a local government’s perspective in the Governor’s mansion.

So with the above in mind, I continued to watch and learn, but when I was first “officially” asked to support Karen, I politely declined. When asked why, I said that I was still not comfortable with a third term for Sonny Perdue.

I’ll take a moment here to say that while I tend to give the governor a hard time here, I do understand where he’s coming from. When Sonny was gearing up for re-election, I asked one of my friends who had his ear why he seemed so passive and indifferent to many of the state’s major issues. He responded that Sonny took over from a very activist Governor Barnes, and the people of Georgia were happy with the status quo. He viewed his role as more of a caretaker and manager, and didn’t think Georgian’s were ready for dramatic changes.

I need, and I believe Georgia needs, dramatic changes in the way we govern ourselves.

We can no longer tolerate ethics laws that allow legislators to trade sex for votes.

We can no longer tolerate ethics laws that allow legislators to sell access to themselves as quasi-lobbyists.

We can no longer tolerate a state ethics board that has no power to investigate documented claims or impropriety.

And we have proven that the legislature is not capable of policing themselves.

Karen took a major risk in declaring open war on this system with her “sex, lies, and lobbyists” speech before the general assembly began in January. She has little support and much open animosity among legislators who want/need to maintain the status quo. Many of the “money people” who have a vested interest in the status quo have shunned her campaign, putting her at a fundraising disadvantage.

Yet, she perseveres, and is thriving.

I watched, and I learned. I like what I see. Karen Handel has the perspective I want in the next Governor, and the desire and ability to bring about the changes to make Georgia’s government more conservative.

What started out as a potential and habitual vote for the “lesser of the evils” has turned into a vote I am proud to give.

Tomorrow, I’m proud to vote for Karen Handel. I hope you will be too.


  1. zigmaster says:

    Thanks for the novel. Looks like she’ll be going against Eric Johnson in the run-off.

    Final InsiderAdvantage/Ch2 poll before tomorrow’s primary:

  2. ZazaPachulia says:

    I respect your opinion, Icarus, even as I routinely slam Handel on these comment threads for the missteps she has made along the campaign trail.

    I also realize that the contest of “who runs the best campaign” does not always translate to who will best serve once in office.

    If Karen truly is the candidate best in tune with the importance of local control, she at least deserves my attention. If she wins the nomination, I hope you’re right about her.

    And finally, since I’m near Fayette, it would have been nice to hear that Karen was coming to Fayetteville last week. I get a few emails from her campaign daily, but they’ve all recently been about firing off attacks and countering the attacks of others… I would have liked to see her speak again in person.

    That being said, I’m pretty sure Chapman will get my vote tomorrow. I realize he’s a long shot, but as long as he does not qualify for the runoff (which appears likely), I’m probably going to vote for Karen in a couple of weeks.

  3. Chris says:

    local control is a trivial issue compared to making sure Gay Marriage doesn’t cause another General Assembly member to cheat on their spouse.

  4. polisavvy says:

    Today, we received two pieces of propaganda against Karen Handel. The problem I have with it is not only does it slam her (needlessly, in my opinion), but the group or person responsible for the ad does not even claim it. There is a post office box address in Norcross and nothing else. To me, for something this damaging to come out against her, or any other candidate, the day before the election does not seem exactly fair. There is no chance for her to defend herself. Those responsible didn’t have the balls to identify themselves — she was not given the right to face her accuser.

    Whoever is responsible for this should be exposed. I just wish I knew how to find out. This type crap is the reason that political season is dreaded by so many people.

    • AthensRepublican says:

      Read the shaded print. I got one too and it says it was paid by the Oxendine campaign.

      • polisavvy says:

        Thanks for pointing that out to me. What a slime ball!! If he’s so proud to put this garbage out this late in the game, he should be proud enough to display his name so it’s not like playing “Where’s Waldo?” I never would have seen that had you not pointed it out to me. Thanks again!! I hope he gets his clock cleaned tomorrow or, at the very latest, three weeks from now!!

              • John Konop says:


                I have a question do you think the attacks will help Karen or hurt Karen with voters? My theory it will help her with woman and undecided. Woman will be more motivated to vote for her. And I would guess the undecided are not strong supporters of George Right to Life. If they were more than likely they would of already jumped into a camp.

                I think Karen will break 3o% because of the attacks

                • polisavvy says:

                  It’s really hard to say. It could help her with the women voters — not too sure about the undecideds. The political climate seems so shaky at this moment that I would not venture a guess. As far as Chapman, he was my second choice. I’d be perfectly happy if it would come down to a Handel/Chapman runoff (of course, there’s not a snowball’s chance this will happen, in my opinion).

                  I’m concerned about crossover voting in the 8th. Very concerned.

                  • Lady Thinker says:

                    I think what helped Karen was the attacks on her as well as Deal saying that only real women vote for him. Well, based on his campaign and the bashing of all candidates by Reagan Rep, Frasier, and Dee, and the extensive gay crap they threw at Karen, the “unreal” women put Deal and Oxendine in their place and that helped Karen a great “Deal.”

                • polisavvy says:

                  As an aside, I spoke so highly of Chapman because I think that, at the end of the day, he’s a great guy. I think he could have been a very effective Governor. The problem is that the extended session and him not getting the ball rolling fast enough with his campaign seemed to hurt his chances. Believe me, if he were to make a runoff with Handel, I’d have a tough choice to make. I’ll be totally honest with you about that.

                • TPNoGa says:


                  It’s kinda funny to me, but it reminds me if South Carolina. The more they attacked Nikki Haley, the more she rose in the polls. It seems to be the same thing here in GA. I guess southerners don’t take kindly to attacks on women.

            • Ambernappe says:

              Polisavvy, I am not really surprised. Karen will support family and child issues (think StreetSavvy). I am looking forward to having more time to spend on this problem

  5. One question. If Karen is for local control, why would she be against legalizing parimutuel betting on horse racing? That seems to me like a local issue that communities can decide whether or not they want to allow horse racing or gambling of any sort to occur, is it not?

  6. AthensRepublican says:

    I was impressed by Karen Handel early on in the campaign for many of the same reasons Icarus has pointed out. The last week she has been repeatedly attacked for what I feel are ridiculous charges to begin with but her response to those charges has been awful exposing her weaknesses. Though I understand her reluctance to appear on stage with Ray McBerry, I do think as the frontrunner she owes it to the voters to hear from her. I will be voting for Eric Johnson.

  7. Sorry, Icarus, but I don’t see a lot of substance or arguments within your post to support your ultimate conclusion. It sounds like the best you have to say for Sec. Handel is that she handled a crowd of Young Republicans well, that it took “guts” to support ethics reform, and that she’ll continue the status quo for local governments to tax without restriction. That’s thin gruel on which to base one’s vote.

    (Btw, if you’re voting on the basis of personality, short-fused Handel is not a good bet. As far as ethics, Cathy Cox had a “no gift” rule in the SOS office. Karen Handel relaxed that rule to allow gifts of $25. That may not be a big difference, but I wouldn’t be bragging about ethics when she actually loosened the rules. Also, the State Ethics Commission is administratively attached to the secretary of state’s office–what did she do to strengthen them during her term in office?)

    • Provocateur says:

      I think you will find that she cut their budget in order to make it tougher for them to investigate and help enforce the law.

  8. Ludwig Von Beachbum says:

    Icarus wrote like he was looking for the qualities in Jeff Chapman but settled for Karen Handel.

    Bless his heart. That is South Georgia speak for Icky is full of poop.

    The occupational hazard of politics as a hobby and interest is actually becoming a poop talking politician.

  9. Vote Nathan Deal says:

    I think any front pager who does note vote for Karen should be kicked off of survivor island.

  10. fultonrighty says:

    Oxendine came off looking like a nut case last night in the GPB debate! And Handel wasn’t there. Sure hope that isn’t the runoff. I like Eric Johnson’s positive campaign, good experience, and reasonableness. Second choice, Deal.

  11. Doug Grammer says:

    In early voting, the Ninth District voted more than any other Congressional District. I think this helps Con. Deal.

  12. Ludwig Von Beachbum says:

    You all can stop writing. I have been awarded best post of the season on this thread which puts me in the running for best post of the year in the category of calling out poop filled contributors at PP.

  13. analogkid says:

    Why I Won’t Vote For Karen Handel (Ever Again)

    by analogkid

    Karen Handel often states that “Government should not be a jobs program.” What she fails to mention (or perhaps fails to realize) is that she has a long track record of using government as a jobs program for *herself*. She worked for Marilyn Quayle in DC. Later, she got a job working for Governor Perdue, but she quit that gig so that she could run for Chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners. After only one term on the Fulton Board, she ran for Secretary of State, only to quit after less than one term to begin her current bid for Governor. For Handel, every government position is a brief stepping stone to the next one. Does anyone honestly think that Handel doesn’t have her sights set on U.S. Congressman, Senator, or [shudder] President after a term or two as Governor?

    Karen Handel doesn’t have a college degree. Does it matter? After all, there are four sitting governors without bachelor’s degrees (interestingly, all of them are Republicans: Jan Brewer – AZ, Jodi Rell – CT, Gary Herbert – UT, and Haley Barbour – MS, although Barbour somehow did attain a Juris Doctor degree from Old Miss without first attaining a bachelor’s). While a degree does not necessarily equal “good policymaker,” a degree does tell us that a person is committed to education (if only her own). It also shows that that person has the tenacity to see a 4 or 5 year commitment all the way to the end, which is something Handel has never done.

    Further, Handel’s excuse that she “put herself through as much college as she could afford” is silly. She certainly would have qualified for college loans. Education simply was not her priority. Personal advancement was.

    The larger issue regarding her lack of a degree is the message it sends to the rest of the country. Georgia is lagging far behind other states in education. Does anyone honestly think that the answer to Georgia’s education woes is to elect someone who doesn’t value it enough to get a degree herself?

    That said, Handel’s record might be a better indicator of how she’d perform as Governor. As Secretary of State, Handel engaged in an overtly partisan attempt to keep Democrat Jim Powell off the ballot. Court after court said she was wrong (http://clatl.com/atlanta/democrats-fight-karen-handel-to-stay-on-ballot/Content?oid=1275966), and when she finally exhausted all her legal options, several polling places mysteriously still had signs up stating that votes for Powell would not be counted. Is it fiscally conservative to pursue hopeless lawsuits in the name of politics?

    Handel seems to think so. In Jason Pye’s podcast with Handel, she openly admitted, “I’ve never been shy of doing that [i.e., suing]. I’ve done it on any kind – all kinds of elections fronts.”

    Education and experience aside, it’s difficult to tell what a Handel administration would mean for Georgia. Her website lists very few specific goals (much less a road map to get there), and mostly relies on vague talking points and laughable videos that always end with her trademark “Bring it on!”

    One of the few specific plans we’ve seen from Karen’s camp came from a press release. Karen plans to save the State money by moving state employees to a “Paid Time Off” system from the current leave system that allows employees to accrue vast amounts of vacation leave. Under the current system, when a state worker’s employment is terminated, accrued leave is paid out at the employee’s current salary. Eliminating that policy sounds like a good idea, right?

    The truth is “no, it’s not.” Handel’s plan isn’t practical or even fiscally conservative, because it would either result in a huge one-time expense to the State, or another costly series of lawsuits with State employees (which, with almost absolute certainty, she would ultimately lose). (More detail here: http://www.peachpundit.com/2010/02/25/handel-calls-for-permanent-reduction-in-government-workers/#comment-215853)

    Handel supports the FairTax, which is terrible policy for a variety of reasons that I won’t go into here. Irrespective of the FairTax’s merits (or lack thereof), that she devotes any space on her website to expressing her support of a federal tax issue is nothing short of pandering. It is a non-issue for Georgia voters.

    The same can be said of her stance on gay marriage. It’s already against State law, and thanks to a 2004 constitutional amendment, it is now unconstitutional as well. Gay marriage in Georgia is a non-issue if ever there was one.

    It is interesting to note however, that Handel views abortion in the opposite light. Her website states that, “As a matter of law she believes society may allow for exceptions in cases of rape, incest or when there is a real threat to the mother’s life.” Read: Abortion is a non-issue. And for once, she is correct.

    On same sex partner benefits, Handel was for them before she was against them. She pandered to the gay voters of Fulton to win her seat on the county commission, and then changed her position in order to pander to the more conservative rural voters when she ran for statewide office. (For what it’s worth, analogkid agrees with her former position, not her latter one.)

    On water, Karen states that she “will deal aggressively with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to ensure that Georgia’s interests do not take a back seat to those of Florida and Alabama.” While Handel has repeatedly made it clear that she will not be deterred by negative court decisions, the fact is that Georgia lost. No amount of aggressive dealing with the Corps of Engineers is going to change that. Any statement by Karen to the contrary is pandering.

    When I voted in 2006, I made the mistake of not learning enough about the candidates for Secretary of State before the election. Consequently, I voted for Karen Handel. Knowing what I know now, I am proud to say, “I won’t vote for Karen Handel… ever again.”

    • Tireless says:

      I think you covered the major character flaws of Handel. She is a pander bear with no guiding principles other than saying what she needs to say to get her next job. Lastly, she is dishonest as the day is long.

      A vote for Handel is a vote for a weak RINO that will lose in the fall.

  14. kolt473 says:

    Let’s see King Roy trash Handel, hes still beholding to unions and NAACP. Bet he had hand in getting Kasim Reed elected mayor of Atlanta. King Roy calling in IOU for today and November.

    • B Balz says:

      ATL would vote DEM with or without a Roy/Hon. Mayor alliance.

      So today we’ll see. I think the polls (Think: Dewey WINS!) are going to be way off this year, Ox won’t be in 4th place.

      I predict:

      Ox 32%
      Handle 24%
      Deal 22%
      EJ 10%

      Remarkably, 10-15% of the voting public will control who is primaried. GRTL and CR/CC have huge power deciding who will be on November’s ballot.

  15. Dave Bearse says:

    Kudos for your avid support of an establishment GOP candidate with one or more serious disabilities. Your candidate lacks either memory, a spine, or both.

    Gay issues aren’t even on the radar for action during the term of the next Governor. Handel actions on this matter exemplify why big tent Republicanism is a joke. “Moderate” has the cache of “pedophile” in Georgia GOP campaigns.

    Minorities that are no longer fodder for establishment Republicans get an election cycle reminder that the GOP thrives on wringing every last ounce from such issues, and that the party’s extremist base is hostile to minorities.

    • B Balz says:

      I don’t agree with you everyday, but today I do:

      “Moderate” has the cache of “pedophile” in Georgia GOP campaigns.” Truer words never spoken, Mr. Bearse, yet the shame of it is how easily folks, on either side, are swayed.

      I want to believe the tail ends of the Bell Curve do not wag the dog, we’ll know tomorrow and more importantly in November.

  16. serious says:

    Icarus, I was reading your reason for voting for Karen Handel and
    was hoping for something that would jump out and help me decide
    between Ms. Handel and Nathan Deal as I had been agonizing over
    making the choice. Well, thank you, maybe it’s an omen, but when
    I read the phrase “October of Ghetto Grandmothers” wanting the Pres. to prove his citizenship, it seems that you dispute the fact
    that he is SO illegal. So, in about an hour, I, a granny, will vote for Nathan Deal.
    who I was going to vote for in the first place!!

  17. kolt473 says:

    Now it’s a runoff, what Handel needs to do is Bring in Sarah Palin, the liberals hate her guts. Likewise Deal could bring in Newt the fruit loop. After he jumped in Hillary Clinton’s bed over the global warm ing fraud I don’t trust him. As for King Roy’s ”change” right out of Obama’s play book. Ga was already laughing stock when he was Gov the Ray Lewis super bowl murder investigation botched at all levels, the flag flap with the NCAA c’mon roy who are you fooling? Not I. PLEAS BRING IN SARAH FOR RUNOFF AND GENERAL. Glad the OX defeated he was totally unqualified.

  18. kolt473 says:

    Now it’s a runoff, what Handel needs to do is bring in Sarah Palin, the liberals hate her guts. Likewise Deal could bring in Newt the fruit loop. After he jumped in Hillary Clinton’s bed over the global warming fraud I don’t trust him. As for King Roy’s ”change” right out of Obama’s play book. Ga was already laughing stock when he was Gov the Ray Lewis super bowl murder investigation botched at all levels, the flag flap with the NCAA c’mon roy who are you fooling? Not I. PLEASE BRING IN SARAH FOR RUNOFF AND GENERAL. Glad the OX defeated he was totally unqualified.

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