Handel's stance could mean skipping Georgia gubernatorial debates

  4:37 p.m. Tuesday, June 22, 2010  Republican gubernatorial hopeful Karen Handel sought…

Georgia (Jun 23, 2010) —  

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4:37 p.m. Tuesday, June 22, 2010

 Republican gubernatorial hopeful Karen Handel sought to grab the ethical high ground in April when she said she would no longer share the stage with Ray McBerry following allegations that he carried on an inappropriate relationship with a 16-year-old girl.

 But now, as the primary campaign races into its final weeks, Handel's stance is putting her in a bind and could force the former secretary of state to sit out several high-profile debates that would guarantee her candidacy free exposure leading up to the July 20 primary.

 "You don't want to pass up a chance for air time and that's what she could be doing," said Kerwin Swint, political science professor at Kennesaw State University.

 At last week's Georgia Press Association debate, Handel was on the sidelines while her opponents sparred over issues from immigration to taxes. And McBerry, a longshot states' rights candidate for his party's nomination, has plans to attend televised debates sponsored by WSB-TV and the Atlanta Press Club in July.

 McBerry has denied any wrongdoing and no criminal charges were ever filed.

 Handel is sticking to her guns, insisting the issue shows her willingness to make the tough decisions no matter the political consequences.

 

Associated Press


 

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