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Running in Real Time: Georgia GOP Senate Primary Debate

Saturday night's event is the third of seven debates set up by the state GOP after incumbent U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss announced he would not seek re-election.

Credit: Patch
Credit: Patch

Brenau University in Gainesville will be the site of Saturday night’s debate of candidates vying for the Republican nomination to fill Georgia’s open U.S. Senate seat later this year.

The 6 p.m. debate is the third of seven set up by the state GOP after incumbent U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss announced he would not seek re-election.

Among the leading contenders are U.S. Reps. Paul Broun of Athens, Jack Kingston of Savannah, and Phil Gingrey of Marietta, along with former Secretary of State Karen Handel and former Dollar General CEO David Perdue.

Three months before the May 20 primary, a new poll shows Perdue with a sight lead in the crowded field of eight candidates.

Conducted by Hicks Evaluation Group and Apache Political Communications, the poll shows the top five candidates all at around 10 percent led by Perdue with a slim lead at 12.7 percent.

Kingston and Broun are tied at 10.9 percent, followed by Gingrey at 10.4 percent and Handel is at 10.2 percent. The remaining three candidates: Eugene Yu, Minister Derrick Grayson, and Art Gardner, each received less than one percent of the vote.

The poll, which has a 3.25 percentage point margin of error, surveyed 923 likely Georgia Republican primary voters.

Should no one emerge with a majority of the vote in the May 20 primary, the top two vote-getters will head for a July 22 runoff.

You can listen to tonight's debate online here and/or follow what people are saying on Twitter about it in real time here (or post-debate, too). And don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comment section below. 

jMichael February 22, 2014 at 02:28 PM
Karen Handel was elected Georgia’s Secretary of State in early November, 2006. But sensing political opportunity, she resigned that post… a post entrusted to her by the earnest citizens of Georgia… to seek the governorship. She failed in that bid, despite the enthusiastic support of Sarah Palin. .||. During the run-up to that race it was revealed that Handel had been a member of an influential group of (Log Cabin) Gay Republicans (2003; 2004). This was, at the time, a smart move given Log Cabin's financial clout. Indeed, in this capacity Handel went so far as to affirm support for domestic partnership benefits. .||. But now, as 2009 gubernatorial candidate, Handel’s Log Cabin membership and Domestic Partnership support were a political liability. Rather than excusing these as crass political opportunism, or as youthful indiscretions, Handel flat-out denied the revelations. These denials were bald faced lies… lies which were subsequently exposed by PolitiFact (June 9th, 2010.). .||. Not one to be shamed by such duplicity, Handel cast about for some way to remain relevant until another political opportunity arose. Enter, Komen. .||. Handel accepted a prestigious position as VP for Public Policy with Susan G Komen For The Cure in April, 2011. Not one to ignore opportunity, she politicized this extraordinary organization to her own ends to burnish, no doubt, her creds with the Sarah Palin wing of the Republican Party. .||. Handel, here, connived to defund Planned Parenthood by cleverly rewriting the Komen funding rules to "...preclude organizations under Federal Investigation". Then, citing the new rules which she had single-handedly contrived, she defunded Planned Parenthood. The ensuing firestorm brought Komen to its knees. Handel was shown the door. Komen, fortunately, has since recovered from Handel’s malfeasance. .||. As with The Log Cabin Affair, Handel denied authorship of the rules changes; but three sources with direct knowledge of the affair (The Atlanric, 02/02/12) and emails uncovered by HuffPost (02/05/12) exposed Handel's sole 'authority' in conniving, crafting and implementing the Planned Parenthood policy. .||. .||. Summary: 1) Handel supported Domestic Partnership benefits for Gay and Lesbian couples until this became a political liability. She then lied to cover it up. 2) As newly appointed Komen Public Policy VP Handel rewrote the guidelines by which Komen dispenses $$$ for breast cancer research; this, with the specific aim of disqualifying Planned Parenthood. She then used these contrived guidelines as pretext for defunding that venerable and compassionate organization. She then lied to cover up her malfeasance. 3) Handel now asks to represent The State of Georgia at the Federal level.
mchapman1479 February 23, 2014 at 08:33 AM
Thanks for the insight. Well written
paulrappaport February 23, 2014 at 12:11 PM
jMichael, what you wrote about Ms. Handel is extremely disturbing - it paints a picture of someone who is power-hungry, and who consistently makes decisions to step all over the interests of ordinary citizens in order to mollify the rich, powerful and well-connected. This leads me to believe she is the ideal Republican candidate.
Minister Derrick Grayson February 24, 2014 at 06:00 AM
I long since said, the reason things don't change is because our so called leaders are not FULLY committed to the Constitution, they don't name names and they exclude the PEOPLE from the process by NOT allowing US to take out the trash. This is the Truth and nothing but. There are ONLY 3 Candidates to consider. Handel, Purdue and myself. Let me tell you why and why not on the rest. Mr. Yu, my friend, he opted for another path and may My God Bless him for it will bless this State. Congressman Kingston: He is the machine's favorite and pick. Why? He speaks BIG on STRONG Military. Who in their right mind would not want Our Military Strong? However, when he says it, not once does he mention the troops suffering with thoughts of suicide (too late for the victims of those who want a strong military, but are too careless and complacent to CARE for our blood and treasure), getting adequate and timely medical treatment and coping with homelessness. How on earth can our military be strong if the weakest among them are not cared for? Damn giving them the best bullets, guns and tanks first. Keep their minds and bodies strong first. Hell, they'd win the war with the jaw bone of an ass just based on morale. No my friends, he is the machine's pick because he supports the military industrial complex that likes to wage war. What are we mostly engaged in now? Conflicts surrounding other people's business. Congressman Broun: I won't mention how he constantly goes over time and speaks during mine. I will mention that I could care less about his personal RELIGIOUS beliefs unless he is preaching it in a church or witnessing on the streets. Israel can stand on her own. Let our treaties be sufficient. Our military is to protect our borders. As far as his voting record is concerned, if less than 100% constitutional is okay, you deserve what you get. Congressman Gingery: A nice man who is respectful. I would like to have a beer and whiskey with him. However, in sum total of these 3, I can't abide not a single one of my Constitutional Protections being violated. All three incumbents have violated at least 2, the 4th Amendment being chief among them. Hopefully, you already see they don't deserve a promotion in light of spending, debt, supposed shutdown, inaction on the healthcare issue prior to Obamacare and no moves on real tax reform which all 3 claimed they supported. Look it up. It's true. That leaves Art Gardner. I have tired of him saying, "It will take more than a loud voice..." First, that's how I talk damn it. Second, I speak truth with that loud voice. Lastly, he says what makes him different is he wants to move to the middle on social issues and he won't just go and say no. Well people, "No" is the only answer if it violates the Constitution and as far as social issues go, does that involve taking my money and redistributing it or ensuring equal access and opportunity for all? I can guarantee it's not the latter he speaks of. We don't need another McCain or Christie and Liberal Democrat policies on social issues damn near enslaved the whole of the Black Community. I don't want more of that. Let us do for ourselves. Your kind of help costs too much. That leaves 3. I like two. I love one. Guess who? Mrs. Handel will have to answer for the voting fraud issue she promised to fight, but didn't. I didn't say it. You did. Mr. Purdue convinced me he would not infringe on the 2nd. There. I've said it. Do with it what you will. ~TMOT
Harry Ball February 24, 2014 at 11:37 AM
Phil Gingrey all the way!
Harry Ball February 24, 2014 at 12:35 PM
" paulrappaport February 23, 2014 at 12:11 PM "... it paints a picture of someone who is power-hungry, and who consistently makes decisions to step all over the interests of ordinary citizens in order to mollify the rich, powerful and well-connected..." Looks like you are talking about Obama
truevoice4real February 26, 2014 at 11:17 AM
TMOT - "First, that's how I talk damn it."...You are running for the Senate not for a job at Walmart. If you sound ignorant most people will dismiss you as a loudmouth so please grow up a little. Also there is nothing wrong with working toward the middle , being an extreme right wing voice will not get anything done, case in point the stupid tea party members in congress. By the way , what's with all the whining about 2nd amendment rights. This is a stupid talking point that has nothing to do with reality. Tell you what , go to Walmart , buy some guns and go home and wait for the big bad government to come and take them away. Remember , don't leave the house until thet show up. Then you can whine about your 2nd amendment rights. Listening to the 3rd debate was scary at best. All I heard was Obama this and Obama that without any real solutions to solve our problems and by the way "TMOT" state run healthcare is still government healthcare. Why have one state with no pre-existing conditions and another state without it? That makes no sense. The ACA is not perfect but it is better than what we had so why do you want to go back? Also , why are you silent on the issue of voter suppression?
Harry Ball February 27, 2014 at 11:54 AM
The ACA is good? Are you a comedian?
truevoice4real February 27, 2014 at 01:49 PM
It's better then what we had and it's better than what the GOP has to offer...Why can't we improve the healthcare system honestly...
jMichael February 28, 2014 at 12:16 PM
Nicely said, TrueVoice...
truevoice4real March 01, 2014 at 06:29 PM
Thanks jMichael....and thanks for the info on Karen Handel

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