GOP Stars Descend on Georgia
Tomorrow is Georgia’s Republican primary runoff for governor. The race is between former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel and former Rep. Nathan Deal (R-Ga.), but the media is making more of the face-off between the multitude of 2012 GOP presidential hopefuls who are throwing trying to their weight around.
Former Governor Mike Huckabee (R-Ark.) has endorsed Deal, visting Gainsville on his behalf on Sunday. Not to be outdone, Sarah Palin — who has endorsed Handel — campaigned for her at the InterContinental hotel this afternoon in Buckhead. (Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) also aired a web video on Friday urging voters to go to the polls and vote for Deal.)
How much influence these high-profile endorsements will have on turnout is a question that will be better answered tomorrow evening after the dust has settled. Most sober analyses, however, say the outcome hinges more on geography than star power:
While Handel leads overall, the poll found that Deal gets nearly a majority — 48 percent — of support from voters who backed a losing candidate in the primary. Those voters, who backed former state Sen. Eric Johnson, state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine or one of the three other candidates in the primary, could be the key to Tuesday’s vote, said Brad Coker, managing director of Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, which conducted the poll. [...]
The poll shows Handel, the former secretary of state, dominating her home base of metro Atlanta, while Deal did especially well in North Georgia, much of which he represented in Congress for 18 years. But in South Georgia Johnson and Oxendine had their best showing, making voters from that region a key for Tuesday’s runoff.