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Palin Facebook Nod Upends Georgia Race in a Heartbeat

Another Facebook endorsement from Palin, another race turned on its head. This time it’s the Republican primary race for governor in Georgia, where state insurance commissioner John Oxendine had been maintaining a decent lead over a crowded field. But no longer. Former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel, the latest object of Palin’s affection, is now tied with former Rep. Nathan Deal (who also got a big endorsement from Newt Gingrich) for the lead, with Oxendine slipping into third place. According the the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

From somewhere in cyberspace on Monday, perhaps over lunch at her desk, Sarah Palin typed a few words in praise of Karen Handel and hit the “share” button on her Facebook page.

Within hours, the GOP’s polite race for governor of Georgia cracked wide open. [...]

Last week, Handel’s three main rivals — state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, former congressman Nathan Deal, and former state senator Eric Johnson — could ignore her attempts to become known as a champion of ethics, at their expense.

But within six hours of Palin’s endorsement, state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine climbed down from his front-runner pedestal and leveled a TV ad at Handel that dubbed her a big spender, a funder of Planned Parenthood and a friend to gay couples.

As to the charge that she’s a moderate Republican who supports domestic partnership legislation, Handel quickly went about setting the record straight. Yesterday she told a local TV reporter that she’d likely support a ban on gay adoption, prompting the Journal-Constitution’s Jay Bookman to bemoan her transformation from “telling gay voters that she supports domestic partnership legislation and even joining the Log Cabin Republicans — she claims otherwise, but the record is clear — to endorsing a ban on gay adoption, perhaps the most extreme anti-gay position a politician can take in today’s environment.”

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