America

Nathan Deal Wins GA GOP Guv Nod; Handel Concedes

Nathan Deal, Becky Smith

hide captionNathan Deal hopes to be the Republican Party for Georgia governor became real as his opponent conceded him a razor-thin runoff victory. 

Tami Chappell/FR39342 AP

Former Republican congressman Nathan Deal is the winner of the Republican nomination for Georgia governor as Karen Handel conceded.

The vote count ended Tuesday night with the candidates separated by 2,500 votes. The expectation was that a recount would ensue.

But Handel, who was Georgia's Secretary of State called Deal Wednesday morning to concede and offer her support. Deal will face Democrat Roy Barnes who served one term as Georgia's governor from 1999 to 2003.

Deal was supported by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich while Handel was boosted by Sarah Palin, the Republican Party's 2008 vice presidential nominee. Thus the race was seen as a proxy war by two would-be power centers in the Republican Party.

Until Palin visibly supported Handel, Deal looked like he would win fairly easily. But Palin caused Handel's support to surge, just not enough to put her over the top.

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