Deal claims victory in GOP runoff

ATLANTA — Nathan Deal claimed victory Wednesday after former Secretary of State Karen Handel conceded defeat in a hotly contested GOP gubernatorial runoff.

Deal, a former Congressman, will face former Gov. Roy Barnes, a Democrat, and John Monds, a Libertarian, in November.

“The best thing for our party is to rally around Congressman Deal as our nominee in the fight against Roy Barnes,” USA Today quoted Handel as saying in a statement, referring to the Democratic nominee. “Barnes would return Georgia to a past that is best kept in our rearview mirror. We must marshal all of our resources to defeat him.”

Barnes lost his re-election bid in 2002 to current Gov. Sonny Perdue.

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