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Karen Handel concedes to Nathan Deal

11:35 AM, Aug 11, 2010 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:

Yesterday, Karen Handel called Nathan Deal a “corrupt relic of Washington.” Today, however, Handel said she is endorsing him as the GOP nominee for governor.

In a statement just released from the Handel campaign, she said she called Deal this morning to concede the nomination.The November ballot is now set. Deal will represent the GOP and face Democrat Roy Barnes and Libertarian John Monds.

Handel and Deal ended Tuesday night’s runoff election separated by fewer than 2,500 votes, or .04 percent. An unknown number of absentee ballots and overseas military votes had yet to be counted, but Handel said the “best thing for our party is to rally around” Deal and fight Democratic nominee Roy Barnes.

Ed Morrissey speculates whether this race has become a proxy for the 2012 GOP presidential race, with Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee endorsing Deal and Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney endorsing Handel. More likely, the runoff hinged on the question of who would fare better against former governor and Democratic nominee Roy Barnes. Rasmussen found last month shortly after the initial primary that Deal bested Barnes by six percentage points, while Handel was only up one percentage point. As the yesterday's close numbers show, the debate over who would be the best to beat Barnes was not settled, but that factor was probably more on Georgia Republican voters' minds than the 2012 presidential primary.

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