Karen Handel Senate Run Likely in Georgia

Handel is likely to run for Senate. (Photo By Bill Clark/Roll Call)

Georgia Republicans expect Secretary of State Karen Handel to jump into the open-seat Senate race now that Rep. Tom Price announced he won't run.

"I think it’s virtually guaranteed that Karen Handel is going to be announcing in the near future," Georgia-based GOP consultant Joel McElhannon said.

A spokesman for Handel said it was unlikely she would announce her intentions at or before the state Republican convention on the weekend of May 18. In a statement released after Price's announcement, Handel remained coy about her intentions.

"I am honored that so many people from across Georgia continue to urge me to run for US Senate, and I will let everyone know my decision in the very near future," Handel said.

Price and Handel are political allies. In fact, his Friday announcement came exactly three years after Price switched his gubernatorial endorsement in 2010 from Nathan Deal to Handel. Price was the lone member of the delegation to back Handel over Deal, who went on to win the general election.

If she runs, Handel would join a GOP primary field already packed with members of Congress: Reps. Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey and Jack Kingston.

There are also two potential candidates with the ability to self-fund taking a close look at the race: David Perdue, the cousin of former Gov. Sonny Perdue and the former CEO of Dollar General, and Kelly Loeffler, co-owner of Atlanta's WNBA team.