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Who is Karen Handel?


Karen Handel promised to cut spending, repeal Obamacare and reduce regulations when she announced her candidacy in the 6th Congressional District special election.

“I have a record of standing up and fighting the status quo to get things done,” Handel said, “and I will take that fight to Washington.”

After serving as Georgia’s first Republican secretary of state, Handel narrowly lost her battle for the GOP nomination for governor in 2010. She was the top vote-getter in the primary but lost the runoff to Nathan Deal. In 2012, she resigned from a leadership role with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation after it reversed its decision to cut ties with the abortion rights group Planned Parenthood. In 2014, she ran for an open U.S. Senate seat but finished in third place in the Republican primary.

Her resume also includes leading the Fulton County Commission as its chairwoman; working in the office of Marilyn Quayle, the wife of then-Vice President Dan Quayle; and serving as deputy chief of staff to then-Gov. Sonny Perdue.

Related: Karen Handel won 8 precincts — and they were all in N. Fulton

A financial disclosure shows that Handel has more than $300,000 in assets, mostly from several investment accounts and mutual funds. She said her consulting firm, Handel Strategy Group, earned about $10,000 last year and is worth between $15,000 and $50,000. Another firm owned by her husband, Steve, the text-messaging service TextGov, is valued at less than $50,000.

Handel timeline

November 2002: Handel, president and CEO of North Fulton County Chamber of Commerce, loses bid for Fulton County Commission.

December 2002: Gov. Sonny Perdue makes her deputy chief of staff.

November 2003: Handel elected to chairwoman of the Fulton County Commission.

November 2006: Handel elected Georgia secretary of state —- despite a rival’s claim that, because the Fulton County Commission approved grants to Planned Parenthood, she supports abortion.

March 2009: Handel declares her candidacy for governor. Opponents and Georgia Right to Life criticize her as soft on abortion. Handel blogs that she opposes Planned Parenthood.

July 2010: Sarah Palin endorses Handel, who comes in first in the GOP primary but without enough votes to avoid a runoff.

August 2010: Nathan Deal defeats Handel in the runoff.

April 2011: Handel named vice president for public policy for Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

February 2012: Handel resigns from Komen after it reverses a decision to stop providing grants to Planned Parenthood.

Sept. 11, 2012: Publishes “Planned Bullyhood,” a book that largely concerns her tenure as vice president of public policy at Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

May 2013: Announces she will run for an open U.S. Senate seat.

May 2014: Comes in third In the Republican Senate primary.

Oct. 2014: Endorses former rival Nathan Deal in his re-election bid.

February 2017: Announces she will run in the 6th Congressional District special election.

Tuesday: Handel was the top Republican vote-getter in the 6th District race.



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