On the Republican side, former Secretary of State Karen Handel placed first in the primary but did not top 50 percent, putting her in an Aug. 10 runoff with second place finisher former U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal.

In Tuesday’s primary, Handel garnered 34.1 percent of the vote, Deal placed second with 22.9 percent.

The Republican contest stooped into gay-baiting, with Deal, former Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine and other candidates attacking Handel for her support of domestic partner benefits and membership in the pro-gay Log Cabin Republicans during her earlier campaigns for Fulton County Commission.

Deal was the first to go after Handel on gay issues; Handel struck back through the media by going so far as to say she would consider a law to ban gay adoptions in Georgia.

Oxendine’s fourth place finish, after being the predicted frontrunner, was particularly sweet to some gay rights advocates giving his long and vocal opposition to LGBT issues.

As insurance commissioner, Oxendine repeatedly blocked domestic partner benefits until a judge ordered him to allow them in the state.

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