ATLANTA -- Karen Handel, the former Susan G. Komen for the Cure executive at the center of last year's public clash with Planned Parenthood, says she'll be running for an open U.S. Senate seat in Georgia.
Handel's announcement Friday shakes up an already crowded contest among Republicans vying for the seat held by U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, who's retiring next year. Three of Georgia's Republican congressmen have announced plans to run.
Handel, a former secretary of state, narrowly lost the GOP primary for governor in 2010 and is expected to tap quickly into her statewide network of supporters. Handel was a top Komen executive when the charity announced plans to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood. It later reversed course amid a public outcry, and Handel resigned earning support from conservatives.
The Huffington Post's Laura Bassett reports:
Handel was the most controversial Komen executive involved in the decision to pull cancer prevention grants from Planned Parenthood. While the organization's founder, Nancy Brinker, insisted that Handel had nothing to do with the decision, internal emails obtained by the Huffington Post showed that Handel actually led the charge to kill the Planned Parenthood grants because some of the family planning provider's clinics provide abortions.
After resigning from Komen under pressure, Handel wrote a book called "Planned Bullyhood," in which she slammed Planned Parenthood and painted the organization as "a bunch of schoolyard thugs." She implied in a speech to the Family Research Council in December that her battle with the family planning provider is far from over.
"Planned Parenthood counted on conservative elected officials to be quiet, and they were silent," she said. "But they didn't count on me. Cecile Richards has absolutely no idea who she's picked a fight with, folks."