The XX Factor

Sarah Palin Stumps for Georgia Gov. Candidate Karen Handel

Today’s GOP gubernatorial run off in Georgia between Karen Handel and Nathan Deal has become pretty ugly. Last night, Sarah Palin was in Atlanta stumping for Handel, who is running on a message of cleaning up the old boys’ network in Georgia. As Politico notes, Handel called Deal a “corrupt relic of Washington” in her campaign ads. Palin reinforced Handel’s anti-boys’ club message, asking last night, “Are you ready to elect a pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, commonsense constitutional conservative, who will fight like a mama grizzly for you and the values that you hold dear?”

But while Palin is convinced of Handel’s bona fides, her opponent Nathan Deal has been knocking her on her past support of gay partner benefits and the fact that while she is anti-choice, she supports abortion if the life of the mother is in danger. If you haven’t checked out Deal’s upsetting “Last Straw” commercial, in which he lambastes Handel for giving “tax dollars to Youth Pride, a group that promotes homosexuality among teenagers as young as 13,” it’s embedded below. Blogging at the Democratic Strategist, Ed Kilgore makes note of the “unabashed homophobia” in Deal’s ad, and points out that culture warrior Newt Gingrich is one of Deal’s most prominent backers (in addition to Mike Huckabee). But Deal’s not the only one bashing Handel: The group Georgia Right To Life has gone out of its way to announce that it does NOT endorse Karen Handel because of her more moderate views on abortion .

Handel and Deal are very close in the latest polls. If Handel wins, it might well be spun as a testament to Sarah Palin’s influence. But I’d prefer to think that a Handel victory is evidence of Georgians voting against shameless discrimination.