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Handel works to woo voters in Gainesville
U.S. Senate candidates ramping up efforts ahead of Tuesday primary
Karen Handel
Karen Handel

The race for the Republican nomination for Georgia’s U.S. Senate seat continues to heat up in the closing days before the primary, and candidates have made Gainesville a target of their get-out-the-vote efforts.

Karen Handel, riding in a tour bus, pulled into the Denny’s parking lot on Browns Bridge Road shortly after 8 a.m. this morning.

The former Georgia secretary of state is hoping to re-launch her political career after running unsuccessfully for governor in 2010.

“This race is going to be all about turnout,” Handel said, acknowledging the fact that turnout typically lags in mid-term election years.

About 20 supporters were waiting inside the restaurant, hoping to get a few minutes with Handel. Many said they were long-time backers, having followed her career for years.

Hall County resident Lyle Andersen said he actively campaigns for Handel, placing signs and speaking about her accomplishments to anyone who’ll listen.

“I’m impressed with what she stands for,” Andersen said.

Jack and Faye Gibbs, of Clarksville, said they supported Handel because of her track record as a fiscal conservative.

“She’ll get something done,” Faye said.

For those in attendance, Handel represents the best hope of beating Michelle Nunn, the likely Democratic nominee, in the general election this fall.

And that fact was not lost on Handel.

With a runoff almost inevitable — most polls show Handel jockeying for the Republican nomination with candidates David Perdue and Jack Kingston — Handel took the opportunity to remind conservative voters about the competition coming from the left in a candidate with name brand recognition and strong financial backing.

Handel said she felt confident about the momentum her campaign was creating before Election Day.

“And that’s why I am going to win a spot in the runoff,” she added.