ATLANTA – A close Republican primary became a little more interesting on Monday when Sarah Palin endorsed Karen Handel for governor.
“Karen Handel is that reformer,” Palin said in a statement issued through Handel’s campaign. “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,” Palin said. “She’ll balance budgets and help spur Georgia’s economy. Her plan will contribute to America’s roadmap which can benefit all of us.”
A recent 11 Alive/V 103-FM poll showed Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John Oxendine (32 percent) and Handel (23 percent) leading the pack of seven Republicans vying for the nomination. In statements to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the campaigns for both Nathan Deal and Eric Johnson said they were surprised to learn that Palin endorsed Handel, who they both couched as the most liberal Republican candidate.
Meanwhile, in the Democratic primary, former President Bill Clinton endorsed Attorney General Thurbert Baker. Most polls show Baker trailing former Gov. Roy Barnes in the Democratic primary, but, like the Republican race, the race could head to a runoff, if no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote.