Candidates make cases in Augusta

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss and challenger Jim Martin were in Augusta at two separate events Saturday trying to garner support for the Dec. 2 runoff.

Speaking at a rally at Columbia County GOP headquarters, Mr. Chambliss urged people to vote for him.

"In the last few days this election is going to come down to one thing, and that's turnout," he said.

He noted how the runoff's outcome is being watched closely because Democrats could further strengthen their control of Congress if Mr. Martin wins.

Mr. Chambliss also mentioned the possible Cabinet appointees in the Obama administration.

"We knew this was going to be of the most liberal appointments we've ever seen, but as you look at the Cabinet appointments that are being made today, can you believe that it looks like the reincarnation of the Clinton administration?" Mr. Chambliss said.

He said he doesn't feel his campaign has been affected by President-elect Obama or former President Clinton supporting Mr. Martin.

Late Saturday, Mr. Martin addressed a crowd of supporters at the IBEW Hall on Reynolds Street.

"As I go across this state and talk to people, they're excited. They tell me they are interested in taking ownership of government," he said. "I've never heard that before."

Mr. Martin said that he was running for the U.S. Senate to help the new president move the country forward and regain the moral leadership of the world.

Like Mr. Chambliss, Mr. Martin said the winner would be determined by turnout.

"This isn't landslide Jim you're looking at," the Democratic candidate joked. "It's going to be tight."

Mr. Martin said his opponent isn't interested in trying to work with the new administration.

"I say yes, we can. Saxby Chambliss says no, you won't," Mr. Martin said. "They're scared of change. They're scared of new leadership, and we love 'em, but they're wrong."

Mr. Martin will play host to a roundtable discussion on veterans at 1 p.m. today at the Plumbers and Steamfitters Local Union 150, 1211 Telfair St.

Reach Michelle Guffey at (803) 648-1395, ext. 110, or michelle.guffey@augustachronicle.com