Political Insider

An AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns. Because all politics is local.

Nathan Deal endorses Karen Handel in Sixth District runoff. Again

Sometimes, a Tweet just isn't enough. First thing this morning, Karen Handel’s congressional campaign machine issued an extended statement of support from Gov. Nathan Deal:

"I'm supporting Karen Handel because she is a strong conservative who will represent the best interests of those in the 6th Congressional District…She will be a steadfast and unwavering champion for Georgia's priorities in Washington. Republicans will need all hands on deck to defeat Jon Ossoff on June 20th and I look forward to being a part of the effort.”

Handel was “humbled,” etc., and declared the governor’s support to be “critically important.”

On Wednesday, Deal and his chief of staff had both sent out notes of congratulations via Twitter:

But the history between Deal and Handel is such that it might require more reassurance that normal. As many journalists unhelpfully pointed out after Tuesday’s balloting, Handel had questioned Deal’s ethical standards not just during their bitter GOP primary runoff for governor in 2010, but afterwards as well. In a book. And the printed page, unlike your Twitter feed, has a habit of hanging around.

Even so, Handel started the reconciliation process in 2014, when she endorsed Deal’s re-election as governor. And she already has made several trips to Deal’s office this year to consult with the governor and his staff.


If you think it never stops, you’re right: Our AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin tells us early voting for the Sixth District runoff on June 20 begins May 2. That’s just 12 days away.


You might remember Arthur Gardner, one of the lesser-known Republican candidates in the 2014 race for U.S. Senate. A good guy with a talent for numbers.

Not that he won very many, but Gardner calculated that votes in that primary went for $15 per, once all spending was added up. ‘I got about 6,000 votes and I recall that my fundraising/spending was about $90,000.  The $15/vote number was rather consistent top to bottom,” he wrote yesterday.

Gardner has tallied up spending in Tuesday’s Sixth District special election, campaigns and super PACs combined. The ballot/spending ratio he arrived at: $73 per vote.


The headline of the Atlanta Magazine piece by Rembert Browne, a journalist and Paideia School graduate, was too good to skip over: "My high school friend Jon Ossoff almost became a Congressman last night." Here's one of our favorite parts:

If there had been a chocolate fountain and a set of candles, this could have been a Bar Mitzvah. Who knew? An election party was like My Super Sweet 16. I started saying that we were 100 percent lifting Ossoff in a chair and doing the hora to Hava Nagila if he won outright.


Our crew of friends that had known him for so long couldn’t get over this was all for him. People were hitting the stage, talking about how much they believed in our serious but goofy friend. It was surreal. I kept saying I felt like I was in an episode of The West Wing, but my friend accurately corrected me—this was a special election episode of Parks and Recreation.


The conservative advocacy group FreedomWorks for America is urging its grassroots activists to back Republican Karen Handel in Georgia’s 6th District runoff.

Why is this important? During the first round of the race, Handel was criticized by the super PAC Club for Growth, whose policy positions frequently overlap with those of FreedomWorks, for being a “big-spending career politician.”

It's just another sign that Republicans are moving to rally around the former secretary of state after weeks of infighting.


An influential University of Georgia faculty group unanimously adopted a resolution urging Gov. Nathan Deal to veto the "campus carry" measure that would legalize firearms on college campuses.

The Franklin College Faculty Senate's resolution warns that if Deal signs the measure, some professors would seek jobs elsewhere and others would turn down job offers at UGA.

"We continue to believe that a robust and open academic environment requires that all feel safe and free from intimidation and/or potential violence," the resolution read.

"If this legislation is enacted, and students and faculty are hesitant to discuss sensitive or controversial topics because of the presence of guns on campus and in our classrooms, the academic integrity of UGA will be greatly compromised," it added.

Supporters of the measure, including a majority of the statehouse's ruling Republicans, have characterized it as a safety measure that would lead to less violence on campus.

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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.