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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Secretary of State Karen Handel to resign

click to enlarge 'On the one hand, I could stay in office and regulate cosmetologists and chiropractors...'
  • 'On the one hand, I could stay in office and regulate cosmetologists and chiropractors...'

After three years on the job, Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel says she'll resign to focus her energy on her 2010 gubernatorial bid.

From the AJC:

“The people of Georgia need to know I am all in for the governor’s race,” Handel said. “This decision allows me to focus 100 percent on becoming the Republican nominee and winning in November.”

Handel said she  is resigning to steer clear of any potential accusations that she is using her office to benefit her campaign. The Secretary of State’s office oversees election and voting issues.

By stepping down, Handel also gains an edge when it comes to raising funds. Georgia law prohibits state lawmakers and elected officials from groveling for campaign cash while the General Assembly is in session. Earlier this year, Eric Johnson resigned his state Senate seat to focus on his gubernatorial campaign.

The AJC says Gov. Sonny Perdue will name Handel's replacement. In the meantime, the "The Georgia State Board of Hearing Aid Dealers and Dispensers," which the secretary of state oversees, will run wild and inflict great damage upon Georgia.

UPDATE, 3:30 p.m.: After the jump, some "kind" words from GOP gubernatorial hopeful John Oxendine's campaign and Gary Horlacher, the Democratic candidate for secretary of state.

(Photo by Joeff Davis)

From Tim Echols, Oxendine's campaign manager:

I am not at all surprised. Karen Handel has a track record of not finishing what she starts. She has placed her political ambition over her solemn obligation to the people of Georgia. It is difficult to imagine the voters being impressed with this latest maneuver.

It's worth noting that Oxendine, the state insurance commissioner, will be restricted from raising campaign funds during the legislative session.

From Horlacher:

Congratulations Karen Handel!

This is the first correct action you have taken since entering this office.

Ms. Handel’s mishandling of the Secretary of State’s office has gone way beyond incompetence. She crossed the misconduct line by inappropriately using this office to both foster her own political ambitions and to use her authority in the elections oversight process for her party’s political benefit. By stepping down, she not only provides herself with the much needed “flexibility” to continue raising campaign contributions for her gubernatorial campaign during the upcoming Legislative Session, but she also “ducks and dodges” any needs to be totally nonpartisan while conducting fair, objective and competent election oversight duties.

You want some objective analysis of her conduct of the functions of this office?

• She was slapped down three times by the courts, including a unanimous

decision by the State Supreme Court, for wrongly attempting to remove a Democratic candidate from the 2008 ballot.

• She was slammed by both the Bush and Obama Justice Departments for attempting to purge voters from being eligible to vote by using voter registration flagging tactics, which unfairly targeted “certain demographics”.

• During the 2009 legislative session, she was even rebuked by a member of the State Election Board (who also happened to be the Republican Party legal counsel) for going too far in her support of S.B. 86, a bill designed to institute unfair “proof of citizenship” requirements and thereby thwart, yet again, the registration efforts of voters belonging to “certain demographics”.

• And let’s not forget, she broke the central pledge of her 2006 campaign, to immediately install a verifiable paper trail for the electronic voting machines.

Goodbye Ms. Palin……ah Ms. Handel.

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