Read Karen Handel's statement on resignation

Statement from Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel:

I have spoken to Governor Perdue and informed him that I will resign as Secretary of State by the end of the year.

This was an extraordinarily difficult decision - professionally and personally. However, I know that it is the right one - for the Office of the Secretary of State, the team there, and the citizens of Georgia who have entrusted me with this important position, as well as for my campaign for Governor.

Over the past month, Georgia's economic climate has continued to deteriorate, and we've all experienced disbelief and anger over the actions of some in the State Legislature. As I've considered this new landscape, it became clear to me that, while certainly manageable, serving as Secretary of State while also running for Governor was no longer the best approach for the office or my campaign.

I also took into consideration that I did not want any perceived conflicts of interest concerning my overseeing the primary or general elections, investigating complaints that arise, and certifying the results of the elections while a candidate for Governor and serving as Secretary of State.

Georgia's next Governor must be a real leader with solid, conservative principles, a vision for our state, and the executive/business management experience needed to actually run our state and achieve meaningful progress on the issues we face.

Our next Governor must also have a commitment to ethics reform that is beyond question and a track record of ethical leadership. These are the reasons I decided to run for Governor, and they are the reasons that I am going to win.

So, as we enter the new year, the people of Georgia need to know that I am all in for the Governor's race. This decision allows me to focus 100% on becoming the Republican nominee and winning the election in November.

This decision allows the Governor to appoint an interim Secretary of State to focus completely on the important issues in the agency, including the ongoing situation with the US Department of Justice involving Georgia's voter verification process and overseeing the 2010 elections.

The next Secretary of State will have the benefit of a team of very talented individuals who will continue to serve the office - and the State - with the same level of commitment and dedication that I have appreciated for three years. I am confident that the transition will be smooth, and the people of Georgia will be well served by this team and whomever the Governor appointments to lead them.

Finally, I want to thank the people of Georgia for their trust and confidence in me to serve as their Secretary of State. My thanks, as well, to the tremendous team within the Secretary of State's office for their commitment and hard work.