I have spoken to Governor Perdue and informed him that I will resign as Secretary of State by the end of the year.I was speaking last night to a local Republican and sought-after fundraiser who has decided to support Secretary Handel in the governor's race. And I told him what I've quietly thought for a while now: Karen Handel will be the Republican gubernatorial nominee.
This was an extraordinarily difficult decision – professionally and personally. However, I know that it is the right one – for the Office of the Secretary of State, the team there, and the citizens of Georgia who have entrusted me with this important position, as well as for my campaign for Governor.
Over the past month, Georgia’s economic climate has continued to deteriorate, and we’ve all experienced disbelief and anger over the actions of some in the State Legislature. As I’ve considered this new landscape, it became clear to me that, while certainly manageable, serving as Secretary of State while also running for Governor was no longer the best approach for the office or my campaign.
I also took into consideration that I did not want any perceived conflicts of interest concerning my overseeing the primary or general elections, investigating complaints that arise, and certifying the results of the elections while a candidate for Governor and serving as Secretary of State. ...
This decision allows the Governor to appoint an interim Secretary of State to focus completely on the important issues in the agency, including the ongoing situation with the US Department of Justice involving Georgia’s voter verification process and overseeing the 2010 elections.
The next Secretary of State will have the benefit of a team of very talented individuals who will continue to serve the office – and the State – with the same level of commitment and dedication that I have appreciated for three years. I am confident that the transition will be smooth, and the people of Georgia will be well served by this team and whomever the Governor appointments to lead them.
Obviously, there's a long way to go. And it would be very difficult for any of the nominees to win without a runoff. But if you're asking me to handicap this race today, I say Karen Handel's the one to beat, no matter what the polls say.
I also think you'll start to see a lot of things, such as Oscars night for Commissioner Oxendine, whatever the hell the deal is with Nathan Deal's government contracts and Eric Johnson's tangles with with ethics in the legislature start to manifest themselves over the next six months in fundraising. I think by resigning her office, Handel is setting herself up to reap that reward.