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Deal, Handel split on federal education money

ATLANTA -- Republican gubernatorial candidate Nathan Deal says he would reject federal "Race to the Top" money for schools because it would force the state to adhere to national education standards.

His GOP runoff rival, Karen Handel, said she wouldn't turn up her nose at the money.

Speaking to business leaders at a forum, Handel said Tuesday that as long as Georgians are paying taxes to the federal government she would have a responsibility as governor to make sure it's seeing its fair share.

Deal said he does "not agree with anything that has strings attached" and the money is not worth the tradeoff.

Georgia is one of 18 finalists in the second round of the federal "Race to the Top" school reform grant competition. The state could share in some $3.4 billion if selected.

Deal and Handel are battling for the Republican nomination for governor in a runoff, now one week away.