Conservatives endorse Stephens; Handel gets Quayle support

Karen Handel and Bill Stephens have dueling endorsements out this week in their races for secretary of state.

Stephens got a congressman, but Handel got a vice president.

But Stephens even one-upped himself when he got Sadie Fields to sign on to his campaign.

The state senator pointed out in a press release that he had some of the state's most conservative leaders in his camp, including Fields, the head of the local Christian Coalition chapter who has the power to bring out right-wing voters in droves.

"Bill was instrumental in passing the Georgia amendment defining marriage, which was critical to our state," Fields said. "He is a proven conservative and I'm proud to be standing here today with Bill Stephens."

Also giving Stephens the nod was U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, who was ranked the seventh most conservative member of the U.S. House of Representatives by "National Journal." (Well, he was tied with Gainesville's Nathan Deal, who also endorsed Stephens.)

"Typically in Republican primaries across this state we've had the choice between two conservatives. I think in this case we only have the choice of one conservative and that's Bill Stephens," Westmoreland said.

Of course, Handel was quite excited about her own endorsements this week - especially with a vice president in her pocket.

Former VP Dan Quayle and his wife, Marilyn, are supporting the Fulton County commission chairwoman.

"During the Bush-Quayle administration, Karen Handel was an invaluable member of our staff and friend to our family," the Quayles said in a statement. "Karen's strength of character, her traditional conservative values and her determination to do what is right are what is needed in political office today. We enthusiastically support Karen's campaign for secretary of state. She'll make Georgia proud."

Handel served as deputy chief of staff to Marilyn Quayle in the office of the Vice-President from February of 1989 until January of 1993.

"It is a significant honor to have the support of Dan and Marilyn Quayle, and I am humbled by their confidence in me," she said. "They are champions of conservative leadership in our party. My time in the White House working with them was exciting and rewarding, and really set the foundation of my own conservative principles. Their support and friendship is appreciated."

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.