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Ga.'s congressional Republicans circle the wagons around Karen Handel

WASHINGTON -- Georgia’s House Republicans are looking to project a united front in order to keep the 6th District seat of their onetime colleague, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, in GOP hands.

All nine Georgia GOP congressmen say they’re supporting former Secretary of State Karen Handel in the lead-up to the June 20 runoff against Democrat Jon Ossoff.

In a joint statement, the group said Handel has a “track record of serving Georgia’s community and stewarding its resources”:

“Unlike the liberal candidate, Handel has made the 6th District her home for decades and will bring Georgia values to Washington—not the other way around. She balances budgets, she fights for life and she defends freedom.”

Handel, who is looking to become Georgia's first Republican congresswoman, hasn't exactly been a favorite of the all-male Georgia delegation in the past.

Beyond U.S. Sen. David Perdue, who backed former state Sen. Dan Moody, none of Georgia's D.C. lawmakers endorsed publicly in the first round of the race. The bulk of the group that was in Congress back in 2014 pledged support to onetime colleague Jack Kingston over Handel in the Senate GOP primary to replace Saxby Chambliss.

Friday’s endorsement is the latest sign that Georgia Republicans are rallying around Handel. Perdue endorsed her following the first round, as did Republican U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson and Gov. Nathan Deal, who previously had his own bad blood with Handel dating back to their time running for governor in 2010.

Quiet so far has been the Price family, which at one time had been close to Handel. Tom Price is restricted from weighing in on the race by the federal Hatch Act but was long a Handel ally and endorsed her in the 2010 governor run.

His wife, state Rep. Betty Price, who herself had mulled a run to succeed him, was spotted with competitors Moody and former Johns Creek city councilman Bob Gray ahead of Election Day on April 18.

Every Georgia Republican in the House signed onto Friday's endorsement: Buddy Carter, Drew Ferguson, Rob Woodall, Austin Scott, Doug Collins, Jody Hice, Barry Loudermilk, Rick Allen and Tom Graves.

Read more: 

Karen Handel’s favorite tune: ‘A String of Pearls’

Nathan Deal endorses Karen Handel in Sixth District runoff. Again

Republicans begin to rally behind Karen Handel in Georgia runoff

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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that impact Georgia.