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Republican star Romney offers Deal cash, support
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Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is giving his seal of approval to a few of Georgia's Republican candidates, including gubernatorial contender Nathan Deal.

Romney, seen as a likely candidate for president in 2012, said Thursday that his political action committee has written a check to Deal's campaign. Romney previously endorsed Karen Handel, who lost the Republican nomination to Deal in a runoff election in August.

Deal spokesman Brian Robinson said the campaign was grateful for Romney's support.

"He is a respected Republican leader and an expert on business issues. Those who know the most about getting Georgia's economy going again are expressing their faith and support in Nathan Deal," Robinson said.

Romney was also in Atlanta on Thursday stumping for Republican U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson and Sam Olens, candidate for attorney general. Romney is scheduled to headline a fundraiser for Isakson during his visit.

"I made a commitment to help in key races," Romney said when asked why he had come to Georgia to help the junior senator get elected to his second term, saying Isakson is "doing better and better."

Ross Alexander, a political science professor at North Georgia College & State University, said Romney is likely hoping to garner some strong allies in the South, where he did not have as much support in the 2008 presidential primary.

"He's someone who's very respected, economically speaking," Alexander said. "He's not a morality-based, religion-based Republican."

University of Georgia political science professor Charles Bullock said he doesn't think Romney's endorsements will sway many voters.

"Endorsements in general aren't terribly effective," Bullock said.

It is more likely that Romney is planning to cash in on some political favors later on. Because of the state's conservative political climate, Republicans are favored to win in the majority of races.

"He would probably like to have some Georgia office holders who would be connected with him," Bullock said.

There were a number of high profile politicians who backed Georgia candidates in the primary election.

Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin flew in to stump for Handel and President Bill Clinton lent his support to Democrat Thurbert Baker - though neither candidate went on to win their party's nomination.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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