Wed., July 21, 2010 2:58pm (EDT)

Gender, Endorsements Fuel Runoff
By Rickey Bevington
Updated: 4 years ago

ATLANTA  —  
Former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin is endorsing Karen Handel in Georgia's Republican Gubernatorial runoff.
Former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin is endorsing Karen Handel in Georgia's Republican Gubernatorial runoff.
High profile endorsements could play a key role in the runoff between Republican Gubernatorial candidates Karen Handel and Nathan Deal.

Former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin is backing Handel, and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich supports Deal.

Both Gingrich and Palin are super-stars of American conservative politics.

They are also both considering a possible run for the presidency.

Tom Crawford of the Georgia Report says their endorsement creates an image for candidates -- what Gingrich lends to Deal, and Handel takes from Palin:

“Her appeal seems to be much more emotional, Gingrich’s is maybe more cerebral. So yeah if I were a Republican candidate I think I would rather have Sarah Palin endorsing me than Newt Gingrich. But I think they both bring value to the candidates they endorse.”

Gender is also taking center stage for the first time in a Georgia gubernatorial race.

Crawford says the fact that the endorsements fall along gender lines spotlights the male-female divide in conservative politics.

“Nathan Deal will be trying to run as the quote true conservative. Karen Handel who’s probably a little more moderate than Nathan Deal but not much, she’ll be painted as quote the liberal in this race by Deal. So there’s a real breakdown there along male female lines."

Crawford says Georgia native Gingrich is likely to personally stump for Deal, while Handel is trying to get Palin to Georgia.

On Wednesday, former Massachusetts Governor and Presidential candidate Mitt Romney also threw his support behind Handel.

The runoff election will be held Tuesday, August 10th.

The winner will face Democrat Roy Barnes in November.