The headline could have read “Deal, Huckabee and Gingrich beat Handel, Palin, and Romney in Georgia GOP Governor Run-Off.”
Of course only Deal and Handel were running. Each candidate rises and falls on his or her own merits. As I posted earlier, endorsements may actually do more for or against the candidate doing the endorsing rather than the one being endorsed.
But in Georgia Tuesday, Nathan Deal upset conventional wisdom and Karen Handel with a come-from-behind win in Tuesday’s run-off election. Handel lost to Deal in the race by only about 2500 votes after handily beating him in the primary. Deal had a rally with backer Governor Mike Huckabee on the Sunday before the vote while Handel got a boost from her own supporter Monday, Governor Sarah Palin. This is just the latest state race that may have implications for the national presidential candidates.
Will there be fallout from Palin’s support of a candidate who, a few years ago, joined the homosexual rights group, the Log Cabin Republicans, and then denied it during her campaign (Handel, that is)? Handel also supports abortion in the so-called “special cases” of rape and incest.
Huckabee, on the other hand, has pledged to only support candidates who are 100% pro-life and pro-marriage. If there is a political advantage to this it would quickly dissipate if he reneges on this promise. I am not claiming that Huckabee’s reasons for this are political. (As a supporter of his campaign in 2008 I believe they are based on principle, instead.)
Romney supported Handel, too, but he has already backed at least two candidates that are decidedly pro-abortion (Governor candidates Meg Whitman of California, and Bob Ehrlich of Maryland). Newt Gingrich sided with Deal in this race but had previously endorsed Whitman and DeDe Scozzafava, the liberal Republican chosen by “the establishment” in the famous NY-23 House race eventually won by the Democrat. Conservatives, including Palin, had rallied around Doug Hoffman.
2012 is a long way off, but…