It's primary runoff time. Don't forget your Truth-O-Meter
A worker sets up a polling station. A worker sets up a polling station.

A worker sets up a polling station.

By Willoughby Mariano August 6, 2010

Republicans for governor: Nathan Deal and Karen Handel


The day after the primary, Deal's opponent, former Secretary of State Karen Handel, called the longtime Republican congressman a "former Clinton Democrat." That claim was Barely True. Deal was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives twice as a conservative Democrat during the early part of President Bill Clinton's administration, but he regularly broke ranks with his party. Deal became a Republican in 1995.

Influential blogger and Handel supporter Erick Erickson took on Deal as well, saying he "explicitly voted to fund abortions" in 1993. Erickson posted his accusations on the popular conservative blog and, which covers state politics. False. The bill lost, and it wouldn't have funded abortions anyway.


The day after the primary, Georgia Right to Life accused Handel in an article on politics website of feeling it "was OK to go in and abort" Sarah Palin's son Trig, who has Down syndrome. Pants on Fire, we ruled. GRTL knew that Handel opposes abortion except in the cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is at stake.

Deal accused Handel of running "a 100 percent" negative campaign, citing her mailers and TV ads. This was Mostly True. Both TV ads were negative, and so were a majority of the pages in her four mailers.

PolitiFact Georgia also ruled on statements about Deal and Handel made during the primary campaign. Click on the Handel and Deal pages for more.

Democrats for secretary of state: Gail Buckner and Georganna Sinkfield

State Sen. Gail Buckner of Jonesboro was accused by primary opponent Gary Horlacher  of failing to file a personal financial disclosure report as required by the state Ethics Commission. Buckner said she had. We ruled Buckner's defense True. Her filings were fine, according to the Ethics Commission.

Horlacher never made the runoff.

PolitiFact Georgia has not written about Buckner's challenger Sinkfield, a longtime state House representative.

Republicans for attorney general: Sam Olens and Preston Smith

Smith, a state senator, blamed Olens for a federal judge's ruling to block key portions of Arizona's controversial new immigration law. That's because Olens was a member of a Cobb County group that helped get Bill Clinton elected in 1992, he said, and Clinton nominated Susan Bolton, the judge who made the July 28 ruling. We ruled Smith's claim Pants on Fire. Whether Olens supported Clinton is unclear, and Clinton was trounced in Cobb anyway. Furthermore, Olens had nothing to do with Bolton's nomination. A Republican senator put her name in.

Olens, a former Cobb County Commission chairman, said he beat the American Civil Liberties Union when the group sued over how invocations were done at commission meetings. We ruled this claim Half True. Olens did win, but as he casts it, the plaintiffs objected to all prayer at meetings. They actually objected to prayer that referred to "a Christian God -- to the exclusion of all other Gods."

Republicans for commissioner of insurance: Ralph Hudgens and Maria Sheffield

Sheffield, a businesswoman, tried to make political hay off of a gaffe by Hudgens before the Republican primary. Hudgens, a state senator from Hull, was doing a radio interview when he said during a commercial break that the insurance commissioner can't do "squat" about federal health care reform measures.

While the comment was off-air, an Internet simulcast of the show continued to stream. Sheffield pounced, saying he got the insurance commissioner's role wrong.

Hudgens' pronouncement, though extreme, was Mostly True. The state government's role in federal reforms is important, but very limited.

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It's primary runoff time. Don't forget your Truth-O-Meter