What voters said after they cast their ballots in Tuesday's primary runoff election in Georgia:

Sylvia Small, an Atlanta public relations counselor, said she voted for Nathan Deal in the Republican runoff for governor.

"It was an easy choice. I don't like negative campaigning," Small said. "A campaign should be able to stand on its own merits."

She said she was more influenced by Deal's message than she was by the big-name endorsements in the final days leading up to the runoff. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee came to stump for Deal on Sunday, and ex-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin headlined a rally for Handel on Monday.

"They are national candidates with their own agendas," she said. "This is a state race."


Tim Small, an Atlanta consultant, supported former state lawmaker Eric Johnson in last month's primary but switched to Nathan Deal after Johnson failed to make the runoff.

Small said he was upset that Deal's opponent Karen Handel did not finish a full term as either secretary of state or Fulton County Commission chair.

"She doesn't finish anything she starts. I'm not a real big person on negative campaigns and she was definitely negative," Small said. "That's one thing I did like about Eric Johnson is he's always a class act. And I don't think Deal would have come out swinging if Handel hadn't started it."

Small said the top issue facing Georgia is jobs.

"We've got to turn the economy around. And you've got to have jobs. It kind of goes hand-in-hand," he said. "If people aren't working, they're not spending money. You've just got to create jobs."


James Lynn, 84, of Savannah cast his runoff vote Tuesday for Karen Handel in the Republican race for governor.

"I liked her better than the other guy," said Lynn, who's retired from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Lynn said he was bothered by allegations of ethical lapses by Nathan Deal. He also cited Sarah Palin's endorsement of Handel as a factor in his vote.

Lynn said he feels the biggest issue Georgia faces is controlling its budget. He hopes Handel can rein in spending.

"We're spending too much money," Lynn said. "I'm hoping she'll have a balanced budget and not waste money."


Nick Carnes, a 29-year-old pastor in Evans, said he voted for Karen Handel in the July primary, but switched his vote to Nathan Deal in the runoff after hearing more from both of the candidates. He said he was swayed after hearing Deal's jobs plan on a conservative talk show.

"Most of my information on Handel was based on her supporters and I must admit that due to my business, I got lazy and did not research most of the candidates for myself," he said of his primary vote.

He said Deal was "clear and detailed about his plans to govern Georgia. His jobs plan is more thorough than anything I saw from Handel." And Handel, on the other hand, "didn't seem to provide clear-cut solutions to our problems," he said.

Carnes said the endorsements from former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich also helped make up his mind.

"When other candidates that I am familiar with throw their reputation behind a candidate, it helps in the decision making," he said. "Both candidates had respectable people endorsing them, but Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich were enough to get me to pay closer attention to Deal."


Barry Myers, 69, of Savannah stuck with Handel in the runoff Tuesday, after voting for her in the primary three weeks ago. While Myers said he's not sure how much he believes Handel's attacks on Nathan Deal's ethics, they affected his vote.

"I'm inclined to doubt how ethical he has been since he's been in Congress," said Myers, a retired medical technician. "I don't know how much is truthful, but I'm so fed up with politicians getting elected and forgetting what the people sent them to do."

Myers said the biggest issues driving his vote were government spending, both at the state and federal level, improving Georgia schools and combating illegal immigration.