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August 9th, 2010
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"Deal is Real - And the Best Choice for North Fulton Voters."


Yes, The Beacon, the voice of North Fulton County, is the fair and balanced "conservative" editorial alternative to the drive-by downtown media liberals. 

BEACON EDITORIAL

North Fulton
 
"Deal is Real - And the Best Choice for North Fulton Voters."

 

Monday August 9, 2010



Yes, The Beacon, the voice of North Fulton County, is the fair and balanced "conservative" editorial alternative to the drive-by downtown media liberals.

Yes, The Beacon, a paid Sunday subscriber newspaper in North Fulton County, is Karen Handel's hometown newspaper.
 
Yes,
The Beacon has a strict editorial policy against endorsing candidates in elections. We never have: until today.
 
The Beacon believes the stakes of tomorrow's Republican gubernatorial run-off election are just too high to remain silent.
 
Simply put, we know too much about Karen Handel. As her local media outlet, we cover her extensively.
 
That's precisely why we are compelled to break with tradition, and publicly
endorse Nathan Deal for Governor in Tuesday's all too critical GOP run-off.
 
We know this woman. Her ambition appears, at times, blind. Her thirst for power often approaches the throws of narcissism. Apparently, she'll do anything to win, as evidenced by her nasty and appalling direct mail piece trashing Nathan Deal, a veteran who served his country admirably, putting his life on the line for freedom. For us, that mailer, beyond the pale of dignity, was the last straw. At the end of the day, respectable behavior matters. Is getting elected governor that important to her life? Does this woman who craves and covets the governor's mansion so blatantly have no sense of decency?
 
We are not alone. Virtually the entire North Fulton State House delegation, her hometown legislative team, has lined up behind Nathan Deal.  
 
Deal has enlisted the enthusiastic support of former House Speaker Mark Burkhalter (R-Johns Creek), House Speaker Pro-Tem Jan Jones (R-Milton), House Ways and Means Subcommittee Chairman Chuck Martin (R-Alpharetta), House Energy and Utilities and Telecommunications Vice Chairman Harry Geisinger (R-Roswell) and House Ethics Committee Chairman Joe Wilkinson (R-Sandy Springs).
 
Like us, these five very powerful North Fulton legislators know Handel better than anyone. They've worked closely with her for over a decade, starting when she was CEO of the North Fulton Chamber of Commerce, then Chair of the Fulton County Commission, and finally as Secretary of State. Most importantly, on paper, one would think that these five local officials would be her key Gold Dome supporters if she made it to the governor's mansion. Yet they not only oppose her election, all five are working diligently to elect Deal, her rival. Jones is in the midst of a marathon two-week fly around the state, Martin is knocking on doors in his district, Geisinger is putting up yard signs, Wilkinson is working the phones, and Burkhalter has raised money -- all for Nathan Deal.
 
While national figures like Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney may be lending Handel their name, quite frankly, neither of these politicians knows the woman from Adam's cat.
 
Here's what House Speaker Pro-Tem Jones had to say about it: "Personally, what makes a difference with me is the support of those that really know Georgia, the candidates and our issues.  Newt Gingrich endorsed Nathan because of their long relationship. Newt trusts him after serving together as congressmen fighting the Washington elite for conservative principles. Mike Huckabee supports Nathan because they fought federal mandates on states together when Mike was governor of Arkansas. The 100 Republican members of the Georgia General Assembly that support Nathan have their ears to the ground all over the state. They feel passionately that Nathan can partner with them to keep making progress on water, transportation, education and lower taxes," she reasoned.

What we evaluate is the views from those that know her best: these are the very people who would work with her directly should she be elected governor.

This is Handel's Achilles heel. This is the fundamental question that all the negative mailers in the world can't hide: why are those that know her best working 24-7 for her defeat, and for Deal's election?

The answer is as simple as it is compelling: they know both candidates all too well. 

Our endorsement of former Congressman Nathan Deal comes down to three fundamental things: experience, temperament and vision.  

EXPERIENCE

"I'm supporting Nathan Deal because he is the real conservative and the best qualified candidate in this race," Martin said. "I'd like to support my neighbor, but our challenges in this state are too great and the stakes are too high to take that level of risk. In this primary run-off, I can't in good conscious roll the dice on Georgia's future," the Alpharetta legislator added.
 
"Nathan Deal has the experience we need," said Martin. "Nathan worked with former Speaker of U.S. House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich in balancing the budget; Deal supports the exemption of the first $7,000 of individual income from state income tax. As Governor, Nathan will cut personal income taxes and small business income taxes. He has specific plans to get people back to work in Georgia; he will put money and power back in the hands of regular Georgians."
 
Martin added that although he's known Handel since her first position at the Chamber of Commerce, he maintained that she has never detailed her resume to the voters. ‘Karen’s website states, she was an executive with KPMG and CIBA Vision’, but she gives no specifics," Martin continues. "Running for governor is a job interview, and she has never released her detailed resume, like Nathan Deal, and the other candidates did. A picture with White House officials is not a substitute for verifiable experience and credentials", he stated. “Deal’s experience stands ‘head and shoulders above’ his opponent.”
 

Jones, who some hail as the most commanding woman in the state, claims Deal is by far the better candidate. "At this particular and trying time for our state, I believe Nathan is the most qualified person to lead Georgia as governor. The economic and many complex challenges we face are a monumental concern to me during the greatest global recession since the Great Depression. Nathan is up to the challenge. Without a doubt," she concluded.

The daughter of a career soldier, Jones says his U.S. military service -- Deal was a Captain in the U.S. Army -- taught him why ideas matter. "He’s uniquely qualified and committed to stand up to the Obama administration’s determined efforts to take over healthcare, education, and private industry," Jones reiterated.  
Veteran Roswell legislator Geisinger, a former official in the Reagan administration and a Republican candidate for Georgia governor himself in 1974 says he is thoroughly disappointed in Handel. "Karen has not finished one job she has started, nor completed one term in any office she has held," the sage House member said. "She should have at least finished out her Secretary of State role, and completed her task at hand, before pursuing another, higher elected office."
 
TEMPERAMENT
 
Geisinger says Handel has put her self-interest first. "Karen has placed her winning this election ahead of the issues at hand. As a result, she is willing to destroy any opponent at any cost, regardless of the consequences to the greater good. This is not what I believe the voters of Georgia want, or what the state legislators want to hear. They crave solutions and hope. Handel offers up negative ads and slick sound bites in its place."

House Ethics Chairman Wilkinson, a retired Navy Captain who has represented part of Sandy Springs for 10 years, says he has been a friend of Handel's since 2000. "I have vigorously supported Karen for a very long time," Wilkinson said, "but I can no longer be associated with her gubernatorial primary run, and I have withdrawn my support from Handel. I am now actively working for the election of Nathan Deal," the veteran Naval officer said.
 
Wilkinson says his decision to abandon Handel "has been a very sad and disappointing time both for myself and my family. I served with Karen on the North Fulton Chamber, and I helped with her campaigns in 2002, 2003 and 2006." Wilkinson explained that he was not happy with the way Handel has conducted herself in her gubernatorial campaign. "Karen turned on the Republican House Caucus. She used a broad brush and criticized too many good and decent public servants for what I consider political purposes," the Sandy Springs lawmaker said. "I found this to be unacceptable."
 
The House Ethics Chairman said he is aghast at the underlying false nature of her campaign. "When Republicans took over the House in 2005, Georgia was ranked 33rd by independent watchdog agencies as having one of the weakest ethics laws on the books in the country. But after just 28 legislative days, in about two months time, we guided a sweeping ethics reform bill through both chambers, and our rating went from 33rd to the sixth toughest ethics state," he pointed out. "As Republicans in the 2004 general election, we made ethics reform a centerpiece of our pledge to the voters, and we carried through on our promise immediately." Wilkinson adds that by 2011 Georgia could be ranked in the top three of having the toughest ethics laws in the nation.
 
"So for Karen Handel to say that we failed to pass tough ethics laws is a false and disingenuous statement,” Wilkinson said.
 
Wilkinson surmised that Handel attempted to capitalize politically on the sudden demise of former House Speaker Glenn Richardson, who resigned in disgrace last December. "Some of Karen's senior staff said that I should have publicly called for Richardson's resignation when rumors of impropriety first hit. But I had to wait until our investigation was complete, and I had the all facts. Once we had the evidence, we were able to proceed. We followed the rule of law and the rules of the House and were not swayed by political expediency. Glenn resigned his speaker position four days later."
 
"In marketing, we call her approach: 'ready-fire-aim.'
 
"I had to withdraw my support then," Wilkinson explained.
 
VISION
 
Martin says that as much as he has probed, Handel has "no specific plan" for the state. He called Handel's candidacy. "A paper campaign" that is a "house of cards, with no substance." He says her policy positions are "vague" while representing "sound bites" rather than "real specific plans" to move Georgia forward. "Her candidacy is based on cliché's and one liners with no meat on the bone," concluded Martin.

"I’m supporting Nathan Deal in the run-off election because I trust him to keep Georgia moving forward," stated Jones. "His broad experiences and rich perspective serving Georgians have prepared him to help solve the tremendous challenges we face."
  
The House Speaker Pro-Tem was adamant in her assessment that Deal has created jobs as a small businessman, whereas his opponent has not. "Nathan knows that the best stimulus plan is not a government check, but a job. Through a flatter, fairer tax system and jobs-friendly efforts, he’ll get Georgia back to work," Jones promised.
 
Geisinger maintains that the Handel candidacy lacks any signs of a coherent vision. "Handel has no plan that I can see to see solve the state's woes, whether it be overcrowded schools, water, transportation and most critically, jobs for our citizens. These are the same concerns as our residents of Georgia."
 
"The big unanswered question for Handel is how does she plan to lead us through these troubled times? Until she answers that, I can't support her in this primary campaign. Frankly, I don’t believe that Karen Handel has the background, the experience or the temperament to be the chief executive of this state."
 
Geisinger then contrasted Handel to Deal, who he supports. "I've known Nathan Deal for some 40 years. He has the demonstrated qualifications, the big vision and the specific solutions to our challenges to lead Georgia effectively. Most important, Nathan Deal has the temperament to work with the legislator, the various departments of government and our citizens to move the state forward."

 

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