Karen Handel Enters Georgia Senate Race

May 17, 2013 6:10 am

by Charlie · 51 comments

The speculation is over.  Karen Handel is now officially a candidate for the U.S. Senate.  Her press release:

Karen Handel Announces Campaign For U.S. Senate

–“Georgians want a conservative Senator with the courage to take on the status quo, to fight for them and our constitutional ideals, to be accountable to them — and not Washington” –

ROSWELL, GA – Former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel announced today that she is running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Senator Saxby Chambliss.

Karen issued the following statement:

I have been incredibly fortunate and blessed in my life.  Only in America could I have the life I have.  I’m running for U.S. Senate because I want to make sure that the next young person who ends up on his or her  own at 17 will have the opportunity to prosper and achieve.  But that won’t happen unless we make some big changes in Washington.

States, especially those with Republican governors, are doing a good job — they are balancing budgets with targeted spending cuts, creating jobs, and tackling tax reform.  The biggest problems we face today are in Washington, and that’s where we so desperately need fresh thinking, bold solutions, and real leadership.

Out of control spending has left us with a crushing debt. It’s time to deal with it and stop kicking the can down the road — this cannot be the legacy we leave to future generations.  So many Georgians are still unemployed or underemployed. To really unleash our economic potential, we need prosperity driven by free market solutions — not prosperity propped up with government spending and bailouts. Businesses, especially our small businesses, need government to get off their backs and out of the way, so that they can do what they do best: innovate and create jobs.

Georgians want a conservative Senator with the courage to take on the status quo, to fight for them and our constitutional ideals, to be accountable to them — and not Washington.

Biography of Karen Handel

Karen is a life-long conservative and Republican who built her career on sound fiscal and organizational management in both the public and private sector. She left an abusive home when she was 17, finishing high school and entering the workforce. With tremendous perseverance and determination, she has had a successful political and business career.

Most recently, Karen wrote the book Planned Bullyhood — the Truth Behind the Planned Parenthood Funding Battle with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, based on her experiences as Komen’s Senior Vice President of Public Policy when Komen decided, and then later reversed, its decision to end grants to Planned Parenthood. Karen, because of her pro-life beliefs, was quickly made the focal point of the left’s anger over Komen’s decision. With her book, Karen took the courageous step to stand up to the bully tactics of Planned Parenthood. She exposed the country’s leading abortion provider as a liberal political machine willing to destroy anyone or any organization to advance its agenda and secure the continued flow of nearly $1.5 million a day in government funding to its coffers.

Karen was first elected in 2003 as Chairman of the Fulton County (Georgia) Board of Commissioners, and she quickly earned a reputation for tenacity in balancing the county’s budget and dealing with corruption. Facing a $100 million budget deficit when she took office, Karen balanced the budget – and each budget under her tenure – with sound targeted spending cuts and without tax increases. Karen also secured passage of comprehensive ethics reform and gained statewide and national attention by leading the effort to remove the corrupt Sheriff from office after an audit revealed millions in missing and misappropriated funds. Karen’s efforts led to the recovery of nearly all of the missing funds.

As Georgia’s first elected Republican Secretary of State, Karen successfully defended and implemented photo ID for voting during the 2008 presidential election cycle, which saw record minority and overall voter participation. Karen reduced the department’s budget by nearly 20% by prioritizing programs, streamlining processes and eliminating waste and duplication. At the same time, the agency improved its customer service, reducing the processing time for corporate filings and professional licenses.  Under Karen’s leadership, the Secretary of State’s office became the first “completely transparent” agency in state government by giving citizens access to all agency revenues and expenses on-line.

Karen launched her outsider campaign for Governor in 2009 campaigning on a platform of ethics reform, “real” cuts in government spending, and comprehensive education reform that focused on student and parent choice. She widely outperformed 3 much better-funded opponents in the Republican primary, but eventually lost in the primary run-off by less than 2500 votes.

Prior to elected office, Karen served as Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Sonny Perdue. 

Karen’s private sector experience includes executive management positions with CIBA Vision and the accounting firm of KPMG. She also served as president and CEO of the North Fulton Chamber of Commerce, where she led the chamber from the brink of bankruptcy to solvency, while driving an aggressive economic development program that helped create tens of thousands of jobs in North Metro Atlanta.

Karen is married to Steve Handel, whom she says is “a prince among men.” Karen and Steve live in Roswell, Georgia, with their Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Mia and Abbie.

Handel enters the field with Congressmen Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey, and Jack Kingston.  Businessman David Perdue said earlier this week that he has formed an exploratory committee in preparation for a campaign.

xdog May 17, 2013 at 7:55 am

Can we expect this announcement to suck all the air out of the goper convention?

Vicki May 17, 2013 at 8:44 am

We can wish.

Vicki May 17, 2013 at 8:44 am

Good, maybe she’ll split Kingston’s vote.

sockpuppet May 17, 2013 at 8:59 am

Absolutely horrible idea. Handel would have been a shoo-in for one of the Congress seats, and then she could have run for governor in 2018 and been the leading candidate. Instead, GOP primary voters are going to wonder if a person who was able to work with effectively and positively with Fulton County instead of being another Mitch Skandalakis (or Jan Jones) Atlanta-Fulton County deconstruction advocate is the right person to take on Obama. That – and not her gender or the abortion issue or the endorsements from state and national party leaders going to her opponent – was the real, unspoken reason why GOP voters didn’t take to her. Not for her alleged moderation on social issues – because they were willing to elect Johnny Isakson plus Nathan Deal has no real record on social issues either in terms of actual legislation proposed or passed in any office he has ever been in – but because of her ability to get along with the enemy. They figure if she can have a good, positive working relationship with their #1 local enemy – the Atlanta/Fulton government – that the risk of her having the same with their #1 national enemy – Obama – is too great. (Curious how Johnny Isakson being the Democrats’ favorite Republican all those years, even serving as a gubernatorial appointee, was never held against him but Handel’s background was. Oh well … I guess that’s the difference between working with Zell Miller and Kasim Reed … which is what exactly anyway? Whatever …)

But if she where to get elected to the House, put her time in for 6-8 years, call the President “uppity” a couple of times like Lynn Westmoreland did, traffic in a couple of birther theories and she will be good to go for any statewide office she wants. But right now, she has absolutely no chance. She is getting horrible advice.

TheEiger May 17, 2013 at 9:50 am

And which congressional seat would you have her run for? Her congressman is Tom Price. Are you saying she should run against him? Or are you saying she should just “move” to Marietta or Augusta and run. You would then be the person calling her a carpetbagger like everyone did to Maria Shefield.

Karen will make a great Senator and will give the congressmen in the race a run for their money. She is the only one that has ever run a real statewide campaign.

sockpuppet May 17, 2013 at 10:25 am

“Or are you saying she should just “move” to Marietta or Augusta and run.”

Yep. Just like Newt Gingrich moved to save his political hide back in the day. It is a common thing. The carpetbagger thing is nonsense: there is no residency requirement anyway. Now of course she shouldn’t go to Augusta, but Marietta? Come on. Also, the state GOP knows that they’ve fallen behind Florida and even South Carolina in getting women elected to office and that they blew it by not electing Handel a few years ago (especially since Deal has proven to be so unpopular) and Zoller just last year. Had Handel gone for the Marietta seat, she would have had the de facto backing of the party. Now she is going to be running against the party as an outsider. Again. Now the state GOP will give up a house seat for the good of the party as they TRIED to do with Dylan Glenn in that notorious Lynn Westmoreland race but Senate seats are too valuable. She will be on her own, have the Fulton County albatross around her neck, plus a good portion of the state is determined never to forget how she exposed them as a bunch of good ole boys with corruption problems. A Fulton politician talking about corruption in the rest of the state? Practically unforgivable when taking a hard line on what goes on inside I-285 is the biggest, most unifying issue for the Georgia GOP.

The fact that she will make a great senator is besides the point. She would have made a great governor also. The point is that she will never, ever get past a GOP primary so long as she is associated with working with and for Fulton County because she proves that working with Fulton County is possible for those who really want to do it.

Napoleon May 17, 2013 at 11:12 am

Also, the Perdue machine will be with Perdue this go-around. I think she would have had a better shot if she had choosen to run for the 11th. In the metro area, Congressional district lines are much less important than they are in more rural areas. Karen Handel lives in the northern Atlanta suburbs. The 11th is mostly the northern Atlanta suburbs. She was FuCo Chair. The 11th includes parts of Fulton.

Linder did not live in his district at times and David Scott does not live in his.

SingingLawyer May 17, 2013 at 11:17 am

Gee, I seem to recall that Karen got the most votes in the Republican primary for the governor’s race, and came within 2500 votes in winning the runoff. She is the only candidate that has run a state-wide race, or even a contested race. She still has a state-wide grassroots organization in place and more than 90% name ID in the state. How, exactly, does she have no chance?

sockpuppet May 17, 2013 at 12:14 pm

“Gee, I seem to recall that Karen got the most votes in the Republican primary for the governor’s race, and came within 2500 votes in winning the runoff.”

That is because the gubernatorial field was extremely weak. Scandal-ridden Deal, scandal-ridden Oxendine, scandal-ridden McBerry, oh and Eric Johnson. The field for the senate race is much stronger. Because of the weakness of the field, Handel actually was the best candidate for the governor’s job, the most ethical and most qualified. There also was not a lot of name recognition in that race, or at least not for good reasons.

That isn’t the case this time. She will be running against guys with no ethics problems, good qualifications and some of them have actual records of accomplishment in high office. You could vote against Handel – or for someone else – this time without having to justify it, which wasn’t the case last time, and is also why so many people were defensive over Handel not winning.

Again, she will be running as an outsider, but from a perspective that most in the state GOP wishes would stay on the outside. I honestly feel that a lot of GOPers would like Handel a lot better if she were a Democrat. If she were a Democrat, they would LOVE a Handel-Kingston race, for example, because that would be a win-win.

TheEiger May 17, 2013 at 5:41 pm

What you talking about Willis??

Noway May 17, 2013 at 9:40 am

Sock, are you saying she has no chance in the primary or the general?

sockpuppet May 17, 2013 at 10:12 am

She would dominate in the general. She has no chance in the primary.

Scott65 May 17, 2013 at 10:21 am

This is going to be very interesting as to how the vote splits work out to favor anyone. It seems like Broun and Gingrey will split the “crazies” vote while Karen and Jack will split the “not so crazy” vote…I’d say there might be a crazy vs not so crazy run off in the future pitting one from group A and one from group B.

sockpuppet May 17, 2013 at 10:31 am

You had better worry about the “crazies” versus the “not so crazies” in your own party and primary. Or is your party going to attempt to foist another Jim Martin, a guy from the liberal wing of the already liberal party, on us again? Or how about another person who initially pretends to be moderate but then veers far to the left like Roy Barnes and Denise Majette? Boy those were winners …

Now I like Kasim Reed and think that Stacey Abrams has proven herself to be a very good political strategist and tactician who also has a strong grasp of policy, but when those two are pretty much the only reasonable well known figures in the whole state party, you have problems. Georgia lacks Democrats like Mike Easley and Bev Perdue in North Carolina, and that is to the detriment of your party.

Scott65 May 17, 2013 at 11:08 am

ummm…this is about the Republican primary…so dont go all red herring…I aint crazy. Thats all I can attest to.
…and FYI, what makes you think I’m a Democrat…is it because I’m sane? (that snark btw…dont take it so seriously…you’ll end up with a heart attack)

sockpuppet May 17, 2013 at 12:21 pm

“what makes you think I’m a Democrat”

Because the GOP would never call their own voters crazy. It is the Democrats who believe that 40% of the American population – and in some parts of the country including this one that percentage is much, much higher – are “outside the mainstream” and deserve no political representation. That the fringe left deserves a voice in electing leaders and shaping mainstream policy but 40% of the country should just be silenced.

Salmo May 18, 2013 at 8:40 pm

Is it your contention that Paul Broun is representative of 40% of the country?

pettifogger May 17, 2013 at 10:32 am

I understand why so many lump her in with that group given her fluctuations on social issues, but keep in mind she was Palin/Brewer-backed. I don’t think the anti-Palin conservative crowd, which I think is a decent place for Kingston, is going to have a lot of love for her.

sockpuppet May 17, 2013 at 10:53 am

Palin had a very good record with the candidates in the deep south that she endorsed, including female and black candidates like Nikki Haley, Tim Scott and Allen West. Handel got a boost from the Palin endorsement too. But the state GOP didn’t like it when someone from Fulton called out the OTP-driven GOP for being corrupt. That is why she lost, plain and simple, and it is why she won’t win any statewide race until she is no longer associated with Fulton County.

TheEiger May 17, 2013 at 5:44 pm

What you talking about Willis? You know Karen is from OTP right?

seekingtounderstand May 17, 2013 at 9:57 pm

Karen loss because Gov. Deal played the illegal immigrant card.
People where losing jobs to lower wage workers.

David Staples May 17, 2013 at 10:25 am

Can’t say I’m too surprised. I think she’ll do rather well in the race personally. At least making the runoff in the primaries and then perhaps winning that runoff. She’s got a solid base of support already in the state from people who have already voted for her in different races. I don’t see much reason for those same people to not vote for her again. Kingston, Gingrey, and Broun may have won their local races, but campaigning statewide is certainly a tough gig. A few more gaffes by Broun and Gingrey could certainly shift the race even more in her favor.

TheEiger May 17, 2013 at 5:46 pm

The most well thought out comment on this thread.

Dave Bearse May 17, 2013 at 10:25 am

First bio paragraph concerning adulthood—abortion of course.

What? No mention of Fulton County Log Cabin Republicans in the second paragraph, even when we’re at 12 states and counting?

sockpuppet May 17, 2013 at 10:41 am

How about the GOP stop pressing their divisive social/cultural agenda when the Republicans agree to do the same? With the global economy a mess and our education and infrastructure in this state in shambles, Democrats shouldn’t even be talking about making sure that the George Tillers and Kermit Gosnells will be able to continue to ply their trade in this state, or promoting gay marriage until the Supreme Court rules on it. If Democrats can’t restrict themselves to issues like the Savannah port, implementing the better ideas that came of the T-SPLOST debacle, and modernizing our education system (charter schools, magnet schools, better integration between high school and vocational schools/junior colleges, online classes … as a matter of fact pushing the individualized learning via technology angle would take a lot of steam out of the school choice movement by removing a lot of its rationale and justification … if you can use technology to learn at you own pace and initiative being “trapped in a failing school” really really doesn’t matter) then you don’t deserve to be in power in this state.

Scott65 May 17, 2013 at 11:19 am

Last time I checked…GOP and Republicans were the same thing…but I might be out of the loop. As for George Tiller…are you condoning murder? As for Kermit Gosnell…thats what you will get if abortion is illegal…back room murderers like him because women will have no choice but to seek out evil like that…if you think outlawing abortion will stop abortion wake up from that dreamland you are in. Speaking of said dreamland, I believe Kasim Reed (D) has been one of the most effective advocates for Savannah’s port dredging…and could you name some of those fab ideas that came out of the T-SPLOST , cause I am unaware of any. Just screaming democrat every time someone disagrees does no better than screaming liberal…it makes you look devoid of facts which that post is…void of facts

sockpuppet May 17, 2013 at 12:32 pm

“I believe Kasim Reed (D) has been one of the most effective advocates for Savannah’s port dredging”

Yeah. Kasim Reed is exactly what I am talking about. Reed has been all about transportation, infrastructure, budgeting, education, and law enforcement. He only talks about social issues when his base forces him to. If your party promoted more guys like that, you’d have a chance in this state. Since you don’t, you won’t.

“it makes you look devoid of facts which that post is…void of facts”

Sort of like how your emotional irrational rant ignored how I mentioned Reed as one of the best Democratic leaders in the state just up the page? On the comment that you replied to? And please, spare me the abortion rights rhetoric. There is a difference between restricting/regulating the procedure and outlawing it. Just apply the same logic to abortion that your side does to gun control, OK? Also, could you please stop pretending as if abortion wasn’t made legal in 1972? If abortion had always been legal in this country, you would have a point. But since it was legal in the vast majority of this nation’s history without this country becoming the dystopia that you are describing, then save it. Before Roe v. Wade, women didn’t seek out back alley abortions and die by the scores. They simply had their babies. And that is what would happen if Roe v. Wade was overturned. And also, let us not forget that birth control methods are much cheaper, more widely available (despite what Sandra Fluke wants you to believe) and more effective than they were back then, which means that women would be much less likely to seek out back alley abortions now than they were in the 60s.

But here is the deal: take away the social issues and your party has no more issues that you care about. That is why you have so much trouble getting elected in this part of the country.

And I said “the good parts of the T-SPLOST debate” which included the proposals made by its OPPONENTS. Reading is fundamental, rational progressive man …

griftdrift May 17, 2013 at 12:35 pm

Rational Progressive Man = worst superhero ever

mpierce May 17, 2013 at 1:53 pm

As for Kermit Gosnell…thats what you will get if abortion is illegal…back room murderers like him because women will have no choice but to seek out evil like that

I guess those women were denied birth control and the morning after pill and then held captive for the next 24 weeks?

John Konop May 18, 2013 at 1:43 pm

SP,

I agree with you on education…..it is a very pragmatic solution…..which is why both sides have a hard time with the concept…..

Dave Bearse May 18, 2013 at 3:51 pm

Dems have been in decline in Georgia since 2002, and haven’t been a significant factor since 2006. My recollection was that abortion was the most important issue in the 2010 GOP Gubenatorial primary. The fetal pain bill in the 2013 session wasn’t a Democratic initiative. GaGOP gun legislation pre-dated Sandy Hook.

“[O]ur education and infrastructure in this state in shambles”. The GOP has been running the state for a decade. It now controls every statewide office and is one seat short of a 2/3rd majority of the General Assembly. It owns the current state of affairs lock, stock and barrel.

seekingtounderstand May 17, 2013 at 10:28 am

Attention Gate keepers of the Republican Party: We want women in positions of leadership and power. Georgia is ready!

sockpuppet May 17, 2013 at 10:48 am

The GOP will allow female and minorities to get elected when the Democratic Party goes back to being safe for social conservatives again. Fair trade? Yes? No? I am as big a critic of the damage that Sonny Perdue did to our state as anyone else, but let us not forget that the only reason why Perdue left the Democratic Party for the GOP and ran for governor in the first place is because the Democrats marginalized him and ignored his seniority in the Democratic caucus because he was a social conservative. Had that not happened, Perdue would have gotten the committee chairmanships that he deserved, Roy Barnes would have crushed Bob Irvin in the general election, and he would have not only pushed through the northern arc plus greater control over MARTA by GRTA/ARC, but he had a robust education and economic reform agenda too. Plus he would have blocked the GOP gerrymandering that happened under Perdue.

A significant percentage of would-be Democratic voters in this state are social conservative, and it is time that your party started respecting them. Or at the very least, have the good sense not to talk about such issues at all the way that the Democrats got elected in this state in the past. No one ever knew Zell Miller’s positions on abortion, gay rights, affirmative action etc. and that is why he was able to be governor or lieutenant governor for a quarter of a century in this state.

Scott65 May 17, 2013 at 11:21 am

So…which one you for…Broun of Gingery?

davidfarrar May 17, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Karen Handel can help give all Georgians a louder voice than Washington’s insider groups and special interests this time around by not asking for, nor accepting any outside the state PAC funds, or political endorsements, during her primary campaign, if the other Congressional candidates agree to abide by the same limitation, as well.

The Tea Party Exploratory Committee of Georgia has been created to help Tea Party candidates establish their Tea Party credentials throughout the state for the 2014 elections.

Item 1: Congressional candidates must agree not to ask for or accept any outside the state PAC funds, or political endorsements, during their primary campaigns.

Georgia’s congressional representation belongs to the good people of Georgia. It should not be sold off to Washington bigwigs to the highest bidder long before the first Georgian walks into a voting booth.

ex animo
davidfarrar

griftdrift May 17, 2013 at 12:08 pm

So she won’t get a laminated credential?

IndyInjun May 17, 2013 at 12:17 pm

Rogue…..

OK, that was a very concise and accurate jab.

Well done, Grift, rogue or not.

davidfarrar May 17, 2013 at 7:15 pm

It means only Georgia candidates who haven’t sold their Senate seat prospects out to the highest special interest bidder in Washington will rightfully earn their laminated Tea Party credentials.

ex animo
davidfarrar

Michael Silver May 18, 2013 at 9:21 am

That’s a dumb qualifier. Who cares how a politician finances their campaign. What is important is how they vote and how much influence they have to bring others along with them. PERIOD. For example; by the no-out-of-state money standards, Ted Cruz would not get his laminated Tea Party Card.

I’m not sure why people think a person who got out-maneuvered by Planned Parenthood will be able to out-maneuver the Marxist A-Team (Sen. Schumer, Leader Reid, etc.). I’m not pleased with gun-banner Gingrey and pit of hell Broun, but I’m equally unimpressed with Handel.

xdog May 18, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Marxist. Thanks for the laugh.

xdog May 17, 2013 at 12:28 pm

Calling Planned Parenthood “a liberal political machine willing to destroy anyone or any organization to advance its agenda” will not play well with many Georgians, and pushing abortion to the fore will result in Handel wasting time spinning what some of her more extreme supporters really meant to say. She should leave that kind of messaging to Broun.

chamblee54 May 17, 2013 at 1:38 pm

I typed Karen Handel into google. The suggested search that came up was “is an idiot”
Bless her heart, Karen Handel has the charisma of a doorknob. When she appeared on the same show as Sarah Palin, this became obvious. Even with the expensive endorsement of Mama Grizzly, Mrs. Handel lost to a politician with a reputation for corruption.

TheEiger May 17, 2013 at 5:51 pm

You post this same comment every time a Karen Handel post comes up. Please go back to eating cheesy poofs in your mom’s basement.

Ghost of William F Buckley May 18, 2013 at 8:20 am

“Please go back to eating cheesy poofs in your mom’s basement.” You say that like it is a bad thing….

Like it or not, chamblee54 makes an valid point – The lady obviously performs a quick pol calculation of who you are and how you might help her somewhere between “Hi, I’m ….” and “Glad to meet you.”

Karen is a walking dust-up and will spend her days trying to right windmills, drain swamps, etc. instead of effectively developing sound policy.

UpHere May 18, 2013 at 9:45 am

Best description of her I have read and spot on.

John Konop May 18, 2013 at 10:51 am

Ghost,

I do respect your opinion, and you post thoughtful comments….on this occasion I do net get it. I know 2 candidates in this race Karen and Phil, I am shocked on the attacks on them I read on this blog…..

In my dealings with both of them on issues from banking, education, economy……they both had very insightful and intelligent points in our discussions……you may agree or not agree with them on issues…..but it is unfair attacking their grasp of issues……in my opinion.

Karen has been very effective in management of agencies…..and Phil did build a successful business. I like and respect both of them……..this is not knock on any other candidates, because I really do not know them well, nor have i ever had any interaction. Obviously one candidate ( Broun) has made a few outrageous comments, but in fairness never met the guy……

Ghost of William F Buckley May 18, 2013 at 2:35 pm

John,

Thank you for the respect and acknowledgement. I admire your thinking on many occasions; we agree many times.

My assessment of Ms. Handle has never wavered, so my comment ought not be too shocking. PP gladly does not tolerate tedious personal attacks that deny meaningful dialogue, yet, PP is a political echo chamber.

My remarks are based on my observations of the same situations we all can see.

Rambler14 May 17, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Do we think Erick will support her over Paul Broun? (I can’t see him choosing Kingston or Gingrey)

Salmo May 18, 2013 at 8:39 pm

Of course. He’s been building up for her announcement for weeks now. They’re bff’s. It is to the point that he really ought to give up the charade that he’s an objective journalist and acknowledge that he’s been in the tank for her since she ran for governor. I’d respect him a lot more if he did.

John Konop May 18, 2013 at 10:38 pm

Erick is not a journalist ……he is an opinion voice agree or not with him……his blog, show, tv appearances……he is very clear he represents a view…….

Rush, Chris Mathews,……..are not journalist they are voices……..just like Erick except for diferent view points………

chamblee54 May 17, 2013 at 6:53 pm

What I said is very kind compared to what the commenters at the fishwrapper are saying.

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