Southern gubernatorial runoffs have seen some hard-edged campaigning this cycle, and Georgia is proving no exception.

Former Secretary of State Karen Handel (R) has zeroed in on former Rep. Nathan Deal's (R-Ga.) ethics woes, targeting him in a TV ad and a follow-up mailer.

Handel's campaign tactics were the first topic of discussion in the candidates' debate on the Fox 5 Atlanta affiliate Sunday.

Handel defended her decision to call Deal a "corrupt relic of Washington, D.C."

"I stand by these ads, everything in them, [as] 100 percent accurate," she said.

She called it "disingenuous" for Deal to be "squealing" about negative campaigning.

"Facts are facts," she said. "This is a race for governor. Things are tough. Campaigns are tough. It's frankly time to put the big-boy pants on because, candidly, if you can’t handle this, how are you going to handle [Democratic nominee] Roy Barnes?"

In response, Deal said that people were "repulsed" by Handel's tactics.

The runoff vote is Aug. 10. Watch the full debate below.