Handel concedes to former Rep. Nathan Deal in Georgia governor runoff

Republican Karen Handel has conceded to former Rep. Nathan Deal in the Georgia GOP gubernatorial runoff. 

Deal had a 2,487-vote lead over Handel after Tuesday's vote, according to the Georgia Secretary of State's office.

"We certainly have the option of requesting the automatic statewide recount. But we are not going to do that," Handel said in a statement Wednesday. "The best thing for our party is to rally around Congressman Deal as our nominee in the fight against [Democrat] Roy Barnes." 

She relayed her concession to Deal earlier Wednesday morning.

"I spoke with Nathan this morning and let him know that I endorse his candidacy and look forward to the fight against Barnes," Handel said. "I have also called on all who were supporting me to give their same commitment and energy to Nathan."

Deal will face former Gov. Roy Barnes (D) in November.

Handel came in first in the July 20th GOP primary but her 33 percent was not enough to win the nomination outright. Deal took the second spot with 24 percent. The two advanced to Tuesday's runoff.

The race also divided potentional 2012 Republican presidential candidates.

Handel was endorsed by Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney. Deal was endorsed by Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee.

-- This post was updated at 11:37 a.m.