by: Lori Geary Updated:
ATLANTA - In an exclusive interview with Channel 2 Action News, Former Secretary of State and Candidate for Governor, Karen Handel, is now a Republican candidate in the U.S. Senate race to replace a retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss.
Handel sat down with Channel 2 political reporter Lori Geary to announce her candidacy. Handel lost a brutal battle to now Gov. Nathan Deal three years ago. She came up 2,500 votes short in the Republican primary run-off.
"I think one of the great advantages I will have in this race is that I really am battle-tested. I had a lot thrown at me and I'm still standing. I feel very confident about that and confident going forward. Primaries are meant to be tough," Handel told Geary.
Handel said she's now a consultant and is on the speaking circuit doing speeches for Right to Life Groups. She wrote a book, Planned Bullyhood, after she resigned from the Susan B. Komen Foundation.
While Handel was a policy advisor, the group severed its grant relationship with Planned Parenthood but after a public outcry, Komen reversed its decision.
Handel said her decision to run for Senate moved forward when Rep. Tom Price decided not to run. She calls him not only a political ally but a friend, so there was never a scenario in which either of them would run against each other.
So far, Handel joins Rep. Paul Broun of Athens, Phil Gingrey of Marietta and Jack Kingston of Savannah, who have all announced they want a shot at the Senate.
David Perdue, a cousin of former Gov. Sonny Perdue, is also considering a run.
Handel told Geary, she knows raising money in a race this huge won't be easy.
"It's no secret, I'm not going to be the top money raiser. I never have been. In any single race I've ever been in, I've never been at the top of the leader board in fundraising but I'm at the top of the leader board when it comes to grass roots support and the votes and that's what ultimately matters. I'll have the money I need to do what I need to do to win this primary and to be the United States Senator from my great state," Handel told Geary.
So far, no Democratic candidate has announced a run. Michelle Nunn, daughter of Former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn is considering a run. Former DeKalb CEO and U.S. Senate Candidate Vernon Jones told Geary he's a potential candidate.
Look for Lori Geary's full report on the Senate race and what Handel thinks about the job her former opponent, current Gov. Nathan Deal is doing coming up tonight on Channel 2 Action News at 6 p.m.