Georgia candidates for U.S. Senate head to state GOP convention - CBS46 News

Georgia candidates for U.S. Senate head to state GOP convention

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Georgia GOP convention opens in Athens. Georgia GOP convention opens in Athens.
ATHENS, GA (CBS46) -

Former Secretary of State Karen Handel was the first U.S. Senate candidate to arrive at the Georgia Republican Convention in Athens on Friday.

Handel just threw her name into the race, joining three others on the ballot to fill the seat of Sen. Saxby Chambliss who is not seeking re-election.

"I threw my hat into the race because we need less Washington in Washington," Handel told CBS Atlanta News. "We need a fighter that is going to understand that as United States Senator she is accountable to the people of Georgia."

Handel lost a bitter primary race for governor in 2010.

"I'm going to run the best race I can and I'm in this to win," said Handel as she shook hands with supporters.

Other candidates on the ballot are: Phil Gingrey, Paul Broun and Jack Kingston. They are all currently congressmen.

"If it gets nasty and everybody gets rude and digs up dirt, it could get ugly," said Niki Broun, Paul Broun's wife. "We plan on running a high road campaign."

The candidates said they will focus on various issues including the economy, jobs and healthcare.

"I think the Republican Party is rallied enough around defeating Obamacare and creating jobs," said Danielle Singleton, a volunteer for Gingrey's campaign. "The issues are more important than any particular candidate personalities."

The communications director for Kingston's campaign said keeping the open seat in the hands of the Republicans is a top priority.

"When this is over, no matter who wins, we're going to have to all come together and make sure that the Georgia senate seat stays red," said Chris Crawford.

The convention continues on Saturday with remarks by Gov. Nathan Deal.

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