Former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel announced her campaign for Senate on Friday morning, as the state's Republican convention was set to kick off in Athens.
"States, especially those with Republican governors, are doing a good job — they are balancing budgets with targeted spending cuts, creating jobs, and tackling tax reform," Handel said in a statement. "The biggest problems we face today are in Washington, and that's where we so desperately need fresh thinking, bold solutions, and real leadership."
Handel is the fourth Republican to enter the race for the seat of retiring GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss. Notably, she is also the first woman and first candidate who is not a member of Congress. GOP Reps. Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey and Jack Kingston are running. David Perdue, the cousin of former Gov. Sonny Perdue, announced an exploratory committee this week.
In the party's top pickup opportunity of the 2014 midterms, Democrats are awaiting word from Michelle Nunn, a philanthropist and daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn.
Handel was first elected to office in 2003 as chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners and became Georgia's first elected Republican secretary of state in 2006. She ran for governor in 2010, falling to now-Gov. Nathan Deal in the primary runoff.
Outside of running for office, Handel served as deputy chief of staff to Gov. Sonny Perdue. More recently, she served vice president of public policy at Susan G. Komen for the Cure during the group's controversial decisions regarding the funding of Planned Parenthood. Handel later wrote a book about the experience.