Georgia Elections News
Johnson, Deal slam Handel over Palin endorsement

1:39 pm July 12, 2010, by Aaron Gould Sheinin

On the same day that former President Bill Clinton endorsed Thurbert Baker in the Democratic primary for governor, a major name backed a candidate on the Republican side.

Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee, told her supporters on Monday that Karen Handel “is ready to serve” as Georgia’s next governor.

“I’m proud to lend my support to a great commonsense conservative woman running for governor this year in the Peach State,” Palin wrote on her Facebook page.

Palin was in Georgia last month for a fund-raising event for a local ministry and said Monday that trip helped inform her choice.
Here’s her full statement:

“My recent visit back to this beautiful area allowed me to meet more of the patriotic Americans who call Georgia home and who are ready for a reformer to help strengthen their families, businesses, state and, ultimately, our United States. Karen Handel is that reformer. Throughout her career in public office – from serving as Chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners to Georgia’s Secretary of State – Karen has brought the common sense fiscal discipline and positive change in government that is needed now more than ever. Though considered an underdog candidate (more power to her!), this pro-life, pro-Constitutionalist with a can-do attitude and a record of fighting for ethics in government is ready to serve in the Governor’s Office. She’ll balance budgets and help spur Georgia’s economy. Her plan will contribute to America’s roadmap which can benefit all of us.”

Update 1:46 p.m.: But not everyone is so enamored of Palin’s choice.

Tricia Pridemore, chair of the conservative 9-12 Project Action Network, said Georgians “don’t endorse candidates just because they wear lipstick. We endorse the candidate most qualified and most conservative, not based on gender. While I have tremendous respect for Sarah Palin, I don’t believe this endorsement was well thought out.”

Update 4:16 p.m.: Eric Johnson’s campaign said they’re also not impressed with Palin’s choice and specifically how Palin called Handel “pro-life.”

Here’s a statement from Ben Fry, Johnson’s spokesman:

We were surprised to see Governor Palin’s endorsement of the most liberal Republican candidate in this race. Karen is the one Republican candidate not endorsed by Georgia Right to Life. She has been caught in a lie about her past support for taxpayer funded benefits for same sex partners and her membership in a gay rights group. And just last night Karen said she was a lifetime member of the NRA, but then admitted she didn’t own any firearms- just they type of answer you’d expect from a professional politician. On July 20th Georgia voters will have a clear choice. Eric Johnson is a successful businessman and conservative leader with a proven record while Karen has shown herself to be a politician that will say or do anything to get elected.”

Update 5:18 p.m.: Nathan Deal’s campaign has weighed in with a response similar to Johnson’s. Here’s a statement from Deal spokesman Brian Robinson:

“It’s disappointing that Sarah Palin has chosen to back the most liberal Republican in this race. Just last night, Handel finally admitted she’d written a check to a gay rights group — when previously she said the check was a forgery and she never lived at that address. As Fulton Commission chair, Handel voted to give taxpayer dollars to ‘Youth Pride’ which did outreach to gay and ‘questioning’ kids as young as 13 and funded seminars such as ‘Unsung Heroes of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community’ – this was during a budget crisis. We do hope that the former governor will look at the record and reconsider, or explain to conservative Georgia Republican primary voters why she’s endorsing Handel in light of these well-documented facts and Handel’s clumsy effort to cover them up.”

America the Beautiful

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