Political Insider

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Jan Brewer to rally for Karen Handel -- but what about those vetoes?

The U.S. Senate campaign of Karen Handel put out word this afternoon that Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer will be the featured speaker at a Monday rally in Canton.

Which means April will have been bookended with the in-person endorsements of Handel by two high-profile Republican women. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin showed up for Handel in a Union City affair early this month.

But Brewer’s appearance could raise a pair of unintended questions for the Handel campaign. There is, of course, the topic of guns. From the Associated Press this week:

PHOENIX - To the surprise of the bill’s sponsor, Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a bill Tuesday that that would have allowed concealed-carry permit holders to take their guns into government buildings….

House Bill 2339 would have allowed people with concealed-carry permits to bring weapons into government buildings unless security measures - including armed guards, metal detectors and gun lockers - are in place. The measure excluded public K-12 schools, community colleges and universities.

[Brewer] said the bill would have placed a financial burden on cities and towns that would have been forced to pay for extra security measures if they did not want guns in government buildings.

Lifting the prohibition of concealed weapons in unsecured government buildings is a major feature of HB 60, which was signed into law by Gov. Nathan Deal on Wednesday.

Then there is Brewer’s February veto of a religious liberty bill that critics said would have permitted businesses to discriminate against gays and lesbians.

Brewer’s veto had repercussions here. Similar legislation introduced in Georgia’s General Assembly was stopped dead in its track upon Brewer’s veto – and outspoken protests from some of the state’s largest commercial interests, including Delta and Coke.

One of Georgia’s religious liberty bills was authored by state Sen. Josh McKoon, R-Columbus. McKoon is one of three co-chairs in the Handel campaign – and a frequent spokesman for the candidate.

McKoon has sent over these lines in defense of his candidate:

"First, Karen enthusiastically supports HB 60 and is a strong supporter of the right to carry.

"Second, Karen supported SB 377, my religious liberty bill and in fact that bill was our attempt to get a law like the one passed in Arizona in 1999, not the bill their legislature passed earlier this year.

"Third, I'm delighted that Karen is receiving support from strong conservatives like Governor Sarah Palin, Erick Erickson and Governor Jan Brewer. I look forward to welcoming Governor Brewer to Georgia on Monday as we continue to build incredible momentum toward a May 20 victory. "

By the way – the Cherokee County rally is at 2 p.m. Monday at Sixes Tavern, 3568 Sixes Road, Canton, Ga. 30114.

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About the Author

Jim Galloway is a three-decade veteran of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution who writes the Political Insider blog and column.