Handel concedes to Deal in Georgia GOP governor primary
Updated at 1:10 p.m.
By Aaron Blake
Former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel has conceded the state's GOP governor primary to former Rep. Nathan Deal, averting what could have been a lengthy recount of Tuesday's results.
In a statement, Handel, who trailed by 0.4 percent (about 2,500 votes) with overseas and military ballots yet to be counted, said Republicans need to unite immediately in order to beat former Gov. Roy Barnes (D) in the general election.
"Barnes would return Georgia to a past that is best kept in our rearview mirror. We must marshal all of our resources to defeat him," she said.
Handel and Deal engaged in an often nasty runoff campaign, with Handel hitting him repeatedly for an ethics investigation earlier this year that found Deal might have violated House rules. He resigned from the House before any charges could be brought.
In the statement, Handel endorsed Deal and encouraged her supporters to get behind him.
Republican Governors Association political director Paul Bennecke said Deal's ideas are what Georgia needs.
"He understands that in order to move forward, Georgia must maintain low taxes, keep government out of the way of private enterprise and job creation, provide our children with a world-class education, and address Georgia's water and transportation infrastructure," Bennecke said.
Georgia law allows for an automatic recount if the margin is less than 1 percent.
The Georgia governor's race wasn't the only race to go into overtime on Tuesday, though.
In Minnesota, former Sen. Mark Dayton was declared the winner of the Democratic primary for governor shortly after midnight, but it took till late this morning for state House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher to concede.
Dayton won by just more than 1 percent of the vote, with 41 percent in a four-candidate field. He will face state Rep. Tom Emmer, who faced no significant opposition in the GOP primary. Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) is not running for reelection.
In Colorado, businessman Dan Maes appeared to win a close GOP governor primary against plagiarism-allegation scarred former Rep. Scott McInnis, 50.7 percent to 40.3 percent. Maes declared victory, but McInnis has not conceded.
The threshold for a recount in that race is one-half of a percent, a bar Maes is easily clearing at this point.
Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper was unopposed on the Democratic side.
August 11, 2010; 11:45 AM ET
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