U.S. Rep. Karen Handel, on the night of her defeat in the Nov. 6 election. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com
Photo: ccompton@ajc.com/Curtis Compton
Photo: ccompton@ajc.com/Curtis Compton

Georgia 6th: Handel nabs key endorsement as GOP rivals melt away 

Former U.S. Rep. Karen Handel won the support of U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson Tuesday in her comeback attempt for Georgia’s 6th District as her two main Republican rivals abandoned their bids.

Isakson, who once represented the suburban Atlanta district, called the former secretary of state “one of the hardest working people I know.” 

“Karen has proven time and again that she is a problem-solver who focuses on results rather than politics,” said Isakson, who is stepping down at year’s end for health reasons after winning three terms in the U.S. Senate. 

Handel is aiming to consolidate GOP support as her top primary opponents ditch their campaigns. 

State Sen. Brandon Beach suspended his campaign for the seat on Thursday, saying that he’ll seek re-election to the Legislature instead.

And Nicole Rodden, a former Merchant Marine, issued a statement late Monday saying she essentially ran out of campaign cash after raising a dismal $9,000 in the last fundraising quarter. 

“It became evident to our team that without the proper resources to spread our campaign message, we had no positive pathway to the general election,” said Rodden. 

Their departures leave two long-shot GOP candidates with a history of controversial remarks in the contest for the the establishment-friendly district, which spans from east Cobb to north DeKalb.

One is Donnie Bolena, who was briefly persuaded to drop out of the race after proclaiming himself a white nationalist in a Facebook video, but soon re-entered the contest.

The other is Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has drawn attention from civil rights groups for her provocative campaign stunts.  

Handel won the most expensive House race in congressional history in 2017, defeating Democrat Jon Ossoff in a nationally-watched race. 

She’s seeking a rematch against Lucy McBath, a Democratic gun control activist whose upset victory last year solidified the 6th District a top GOP target in 2020. 

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.