Handel On US Senate Race: “She’s Considering It”

Yesterday’s column dealt with the two most discussed potential challengers to Senator Saxby Chambliss in a primary – Tom Price and Paul Broun.  The Weekly Standard floats another name: Karen Handel.

“She’s considering it,” says Rob Sims, a Republican campaign consultant who worked on Handel’s unsuccessful run for governor in 2010. Kay Godwin, the co-chairman of Georgia Conservatives in Action, says Handel is among those she’s hearing who could successfully challenge Chambliss.

Handel lost the GOP nomination by just 2,500 votes to Congressman Nathan Deal, who went on to win the general election. She later served as senior vice president at the Susan G. Komen foundation, which raises money for breast cancer research, and was associated with the organization’s decision in January to cut ties with Planned Parenthood. Komen later reversed this decision, and Handel resigned her position thereafter

The 50-year-old Handel, who hails from Metro Atlanta, maintains a statewide organization of supporters and contacts, which would be critical for challenging the South Georgia-based Chambliss. And the Komen/Planned Parenthood episode burnished Handel’s pro-life credentials, which had been called into question in the gubernatorial primary.

I haven’t discussed this with Karen and have no inside knowledge of her intentions, so I’ll just state that upfront.  So much for a slow news day, but I’m still going to resume my Thanksgiving pre-game and return as any other news breaks.  In the mean time, speculators may continue to speculate.


  1. I Miss the 90s says:

    I can see Price as a primary challenger…he is a good liar, a good fund raiser, and a ruthlessly ambitious party member. He knows he will have to pretend to be a fascist to win the GOP primary. Although, he has not had to campaign since 2004.

    Broun and Handel, though? I do not know which is worse. Handel is an incompetent campaigner, but really does not have much of a record on which to run (aside from challenging democratic candidates residency requirements her lone accomplishment was setting working to prevent poor people from voting). I can see her lack of experience helping in a competitive general election…I am not so certain about a primary.

    Paul Broun. I do not know what scares me more: his empty 1000yard stare, his ridiculous religious beliefs, or that he chases windmills. Actually, looking at if from that perspective…Broun may have a fighting change in a GA GOP primary. Broun is not a very competent campaigner either. He is the accidental congressman and has not had a challenge to his seat yet…except from Charles Darwin.

    It would be an interesting campaign nonetheless…like a train wreck in slow motion. It is an opportunity for Broun and Price to trade barbs on ethics and medical malpractice: Price can ask Broun about the sexual harassment lawsuits that resulted in Broun’s expulsion from practicing medicine in GA hospitals (effectively reducing his practice to a home-visits doctor); and Broun can publicly ask Price about the time his wife drunkenly ran over a pedestrian…and rather than reporting the accident and getting a DUI, brought the victim to Price’s medical practice for unlawful treatment.

    In all seriousness though, Chambliss is a player in the Senate now. He is becoming quite the statesman. There is not really anything to complain about…but the right wing will not be satisfied until they have smeared the name of an admirable U.S. Senator from their own party (because smearing Cleland was not enough) simply because he is not intolerant enough.

    • IndyInjun says:

      I guess I am sort of “intolerant” of the votes of Deal, Isakson, and Chambliss to put my hard-won savings on the same footing as used toilet paper with their ridiculous votes for GLB, CFMA, and TARP (Deal voted no on that travesty, though).

      There’s a complaint for you.

      • Bob Loblaw says:

        And I’m sure you’re plan to save the country from financial ruin would have been much better. You’re “hard won” savings? Please.

        • IndyInjun says:

          I make Clark Howard look like an amateur at times and I absolutely do not like ‘conservatives’ who confuse ‘growth’ with ‘inflate with abandon.’ Yeah I am old fashioned. If things were run by frugal folks who resolutely remain sober, there never would have been a financial crisis. I read financial sites with relish and I know the truth about the sorry records of Georgia’s GOP in the House and Senate. Welfare for bankers isn’t my idea of justice or honoring property rights. Ergo, I now detest the GOP.

    • NorthGAGOP says:

      Handel an incompetent campaigner? She was out spent and the conventional wisdom was she would finish a distant 4th in the Governors race. She won the primary and lost the run-off by less than 3,000 votes.

      Price is sitting on $1.7 million, and is very well respected in his district.

  2. drjay says:

    i am fond of karen handel, i’ve only met her a couple of times but she seems genuine to me–i am not sure she is what the folks who are apoplectic over chambliss have in mind…

      • Napoleon says:

        Is it just me or is political power being overly geographically focused in this state? I’m willing to bet that Karen Handel, Tom Price, Sam Olens and Johnny Isakson probably live less than 15 miles (as the crow flies) from each other.

        I don’t know if there are enough voters outside of North Fulton/East Cobb to prevent having both of our U.S. Senators live so close they can run into each other at the Publix, but I’m sure there will be many people in Georgia who do not feel that they have a U.S. Senator who can completely relate to them. It could also open the door to a moderate Democrat from outside the Atlanta area who could appeal in that respect to conservative rural voters, but would get the normal Democrat split in the Atlanta metro.

        • Doug Deal says:

          I’m sure if you are even more clever you could probably cherry pick 3 members of the government that are even closer. How about Casey Cagle, Nathan Deal (his home, not the Governor’s mansion) and Doug Collins?

          This isn’t real estate, it’s politics. Location means nothing.

        • Ken says:

          Democrats no longer generally appeal to rural voters in South Georgia. They are generaly preceived with suspicion. If said Democrat were a South Georgia natives it might make a difference. There are still a considerable number of people here who vote based upon geography.

          Having said that, a conservative-talking Democrat has a major hurdle to overcome: only as a majority party member would he have access to power; only as a minority party member would leadership even consider conservative/moderate ideas. Most of us call that a no-win situation.

    • I Miss the 90s says:

      Good pun. In all seriousness though, all of these primary campaign rumors reflect a lesson the GAGOP may not have learned from the past few elections: ideological purity is going to starting hurting your party’s electoral prospects.

      The GAGOP’s smartest move would be to renominate Saxby without a primary.

      • Baker says:

        No offense to Ms. Handel, who I do like, but “the GAGOP may not have learned from the past few elections: ideological purity is going to starting hurting your party’s electoral prospects.”

        Too true. O’Donnell and Angle didn’t do it, but how can Mourdock and Akin not teach some lessons.

          • griftdrift says:

            A rare thing from me. Andre you’re right. Which leads to the question, how does she distinguish herself from Chambliss.

            The first question any candidate must answer, “why am I running?”

            • Andre says:

              If I may join the chorus of people who preface their comments with “I like Karen Handel,” I like Karen Handel but the U.S. Senate is ill-suited for her.

              Every job Karen Handel has held, either in the public sector or the private sector, saw her in some sort of leadership position.

              Handel was deputy chief of staff to Marilyn Quayle. Handel was head of the North Fulton Chamber of Commerce. She was deputy chief of staff to Gov. Perdue. She was the Fulton County Commission Chairman. She was Secretary of State. All of these positions saw Karen Handel at the highest level of the decision-making process.

              Contrast that to the United States Senate, where Handel would be just one of one hundred. Karen Handel would have no seniority, and virtually no political capital to spend.

              Karen Handel doesn’t strike me as a legislator. She strikes me as a Lt. Governor or a Governor.

              • Stefan says:

                deputy chief of staff to Marilyn Quayle is not a “leadership position”, not is it the “highest level of the decision making process”.

                Neither are the others, but you could at least argue the point.

                • Andre says:

                  I’mm sure Ben Fortson, Max Cleland, Lewis Massey and Cathy Cox would disagree with your assertion that the office of Secretary of State is not a leadership position.

                  Likewise, Mike Kenn, Mitch Skandalakis and John Eaves probably would not agree with our claim that Fulton county Commission Chair is not at the highest level of the decision-making process.

                  • Stefan says:

                    Andre, I don’t mean to derail your fawning train, but Nathan Deal, Sonny Perdue, Roy Barnes, Zell Miller, and Joe Frank Harris might take issue with the idea that SoS is “the highest level of the decision making process.”

                    And you do recognize that as a commissioner, Karen was a member of a commission where each member has an equal vote. So, in that role Karen Handel’s opinion = Emma Darnell’s opinion.

                    I see you decided to retreat from the DEPUTY chief of staff to the SECOND lady is somehow the highest level of the decision making process. Good call.

        • southernpol says:

          Sorry Baker but comparing Handel to O’Donnell, Angle, Mourdock or Akin is asinine. Handel is brilliant, and any of her political foes would tell you the same.

          I hope she throws her hat in the ring. She wouldn’t automatically have my vote, but if it’s just her and Saxby she sure would.

  3. View from Brookhaven says:

    Of course she is.

    Why else does anyone write books about how they were bullied by some left-wing meanies.

  4. shoshanna says:

    Here prolife credentials will not sustain a statewide challenge because she would have to explain WHY the national prolife group Susan B Anthony did NOT endorse her last time, even though they specialize in endorsing “mama grizzlies”. AND why (unless her position has changed since 2010*) she WON’T get their endorsement THIS time around.

    * She is on record as saying that she does NOT define a “child” the same way the prolife movement defines a child . . . she believes that a child at an embryonic level IS NOT a child until she “implants” in her mother’s womb (around 10-14 days after conception.)

    • Doug Deal says:

      How much are we in debt again? How large is our deficit? Is our economy ever going to recover? Are we going to shrink the size of government?

      You really need your priorities straightened out.

    • Bob Loblaw says:


      You are the problem. Just because you pee on the stick and it turns blue it doesn’t mean you are pregnant. Almost 20% of these cells that you call a “child” become miscarriages.

      37% of US Women went to the polls with Abortion as their #1 issue. 20% than were concerned with jobs. Why? Because you’re scientifically baseless views are encroaching on women’s ability to get pregnancy care. Not because they want abortion on demand, but because you and your ilk understand less about obstetrics than you do about tact.

      Handel has more pro-life credibility after taking the stand that she took than you have in your pinkie finger.

      • James Fannin says:

        Karen Handel was vilified by Georgia Right to Life for not sounding like a Todd Akin clone and because she believed in exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother and then she was later vilified by Planned Parenthood because she didn’t think people who gave money to Susan G.Komen expected their money to go to the nation’s biggest abortion provider. When you are being attacked by Georgia Right to Life in vile ways and attacked by Planned Parenthood in equally dishonest ways, you are probably right where most American are on the issue.

  5. Ron Daniels says:

    I think there are better suited things for Handel to do, rather than going to be Senator. Being Senator from the State of Georgia is, generally, political endgame. It’s the green pasture we send former Governor’s off to and, more recently, bumped up Congressmen.

    • thinkoutloud says:

      I agree. There are much better things for her to do. Here’s one- right the ship at the Fulton County Elections and Registration Office. Here is one mess right in her own back yard that is just screaming for a strong manager with the backbone to change the culture. A few good reasons she should consider taking it on:
      1. It could be a real opportunity to show that she can work through tough problems and bring real change.
      2. The salary is at executive level- something she won’t find in most elected positions.
      3. This is her home territory. She already has the network to bring in some talent and hopefully she has the perspective to see that the Fulton problem is not a workforce problem alone- it’s a leadership problem.
      4. Fulton county should be leading the elections community- they have more voters than many whole states, a stacked budget, and systems that many counties would kill for- and yet the end result is usually a disappointment. A strong leader could bring Fulton to lead the state and push for change in the elections culture – legislative and otherwise.
      5. Some may view leading a county office as a demotion after leading at the state level- but with Fulton’s budget, resources and potential influence- she could arguably get more done and have a closely watched platform from which to excel.
      6. If she truly has a heart for service- then serve where it’s needed most. Do we really need another North Fulton official flying to D.C. to play parlor games? Or does she really want to roll up her sleeves and make a difference?

  6. swga resident says:

    Has anyone else heard the former Gov. Sonny Perdue is planning to run against Chambliss. That’s a rumor down this way.

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