Ain’t politics strange.
After running a campaign in which she assailed the incumbent members of the House of Representatives who were seeking the open U.S. Senate seat, Karen Handel is now backing the survivor.
Handel, who finished third in the primary to David Perdue and U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, threw her support behind Kingston on Wednesday.
“I have had the unique opportunity over the last year to get to know all of the candidates very well, under the difficult circumstances and significant pressures of a statewide race,” Handel said in her statement. “What I've seen in Jack is a man of integrity who is devoted to his family. A man who is fiercely dedicated to the conservative principles that are the foundation of the Republican Party. A man who has represented the people of the 1st Congressional District honorably and effectively for more than 20 years.”
Perdue was the leading vote-getter among the seven GOP contestants running for the nomination to replace Saxby Chambliss, who is retiring after 20 years at the Capitol, split between the House and Senate.
Perdue captured 31 percent of the vote statewide, while Kingston had 26 percent and Handel garnered 22 percent. Perdue is the former CEO of Dollar General and Reebok. Handel had been chairman of the Fulton County Commission and Georgia secretary of state.
“When you are trying to decide who to support in the runoff, think about this: when Election Day came last week, the people Jack serves every day gave him an outstanding job performance evaluation,” Handel continued. “The 74 percent of the vote he received there speaks volumes about how well Jack has served the people in his district.
“Now, he wants to go to work for all of Georgia. More than ever, we need a workhorse -- not a show horse.”
In of the last statements she issued the weekend before the primary, Handel offered this: “Unlike David Perdue, I am not a millionaire who can self-finance my campaign, and unlike Jack Kingston, I am not a sitting Congressman who can hold lavish fundraisers with Washington lobbyists to the tune of millions raised.”
In the hours after the final debate in Columbus — her campaign trumpeted she won the debate, and that came after every debate — Handel also sent this forth:
“But the Washington elite have decided the run-off should be between David Perdue and Jack Kingston, and they are busy spending millions of dollars trying to buy this election. Unfortunately for them, only Georgians get to decide who will be the next U.S. Senator.
Tonight, the three congressmen cited the same tired excuses for failing to deliver results in Congress. “Together, Jack Kingston, Paul Broun, and Phil Gingrey have spent over 40 years in Washington failing to get results. Yet each wants a promotion to the U.S. Senate. Jack Kingston and his liberal allies have spent millions trying to portray him as a conservative, but his record shows he's voted for billions in earmarks, voted to raise the debt ceiling numerous times, and watched our country's debt soar from $4.6 trillion to over $17 trillion since he's been in office.”
The runoff is just under two months away, but Handel was effusive in her support of Kingston in the race.
“We need our new U.S. Senator to be a person who is extremely knowledgeable about the complicated issues Congress faces every day,” she said. “We need a consistent conservative who brings the experience to be an effective member of the Senate from day one. And, we need a U.S. Senator who understands that the American Dream is for every Georgian no matter what their circumstances.
“Friends, Jack Kingston is that person. I hope you'll join me in returning to the polls on July 22 and voting for the man who has spent the better part of his life serving Georgia and who will continue to serve us well in the United States Senate — Jack Kingston.”