Chambliss wins Georgia Senate runoff

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ATLANTA - Georgia Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss handed the GOP a firewall against Democrats eager to flex their newfound political muscle in Washington, winning a bruising runoff battle Tuesday night that had captured the national limelight.

Chambliss' victory thwarted Democrats' hopes of winning a 60 seat filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. It came after a bitter month long runoff against Democrat Jim Martin that drew political luminaries from both parties to the state and flooded the airwaves with fresh attack ads weeks after campaigns elsewhere had ended.

Minnesota -- where a recount is under way -- now remains the only unresolved Senate contest in the country. But the stakes there are significantly lower now that Georgia has put a 60-seat Democratic supermajority out of reach.

With 90 percent of the precincts reporting, Chambliss captured 59 percent to Martin's 41 percent. Chambliss' win is a rare bright spot for Republicans in a year where they lost the White House as well as seats in the House and the Senate.

Martin's campaign said he had called Chambliss to concede and was expected to address some 200 supporters gathered at an Atlanta party shortly.

Chambliss portrayed his win as an encouraging sign for Republicans looking to regroup as they head into the next election cycle.

"I'm excited to be the first race that leads us into the 2010 campaign because it'll be a tough fight," Chambliss said at a victory party in Cobb County.

Chambliss' mantra on the runoff campaign trail was simple: His re-election was critical to prevent Democrats in Washington from having a blank check. Chambliss, 65, had angered some conservatives with his vote for the $700 billion bailout of the financial services industry and his early support in 2007 for the guest worker provision in President Bush's immigration bill. But fearful of unchecked Democratic dominance, some came back into the GOP fold Tuesday

Martin made the economy the centerpiece of his bid, casting himself as a champion for the neglected middle class. He also linked himself at every opportunity to Barack Obama and his message of change. The Democratic president elect was a no show on the campaign trail in Georgia but did record a radio ad and automated phone calls for Martin.

In the end, Martin, a 63-year-old former state lawmaker from Atlanta, wasn't able to get Obama voters back to the polls in large enough numbers to overcome the Republican advantage in Georgia, which has become an increasingly a reliable red state since 2002.

Turnout was light throughout the state Tuesday. A spokesman for Secretary of State Karen Handel predicted between 18 and 20 percent of the state's 5.75 million registered voters would cast ballots -- far less than the 65 percent who voted in last month's general election.

The runoff between the former University of Georgia fraternity brothers was necessary after a three-way general election prevented any of the candidates from getting the necessary 50 percent.

Chambliss came to the Senate in 2002 after defeating Democratic Sen. Max Cleland in a campaign that infuriated Democrats. Chambliss ran a TV ad that questioned Cleland's commitment to national security and flashed a photo of Osama bin Laden. Cleland is a triple amputee wounded in the Vietnam War.

He was a loyal supporter of President Bush and, as a freshman, rose to become chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. the former agriculture lawyer from Moultrie has been the ranking Republican on the panel since Democrats won control of the Senate.

Some 3.7 million people cast ballots in this year's general election, and both sides have since tried to keep voters' attention with a barrage of ads and visits by political heavy-hitters.

Former President Bill Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore both stumped for Martin.

Several ex-Republican presidential candidates made appearances for Chambliss, including GOP nominee John McCain, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Chambliss brought in Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, McCain's vice presidential pick, as his closer. She headlined four rallies for Chambliss across the state Monday that drew thousands of party faithful.

Runoff Races:

U.S. Senate

2,830 of 3,303 precincts - 86 percent

x-Saxby Chambliss, GOP (i) 1,041,787 - 59 percent

Jim Martin, Dem 721,522 - 41 percent

PSC District 4

2,829 of 3,303 precincts - 86 percent

Lauren McDonald, GOP 959,446 - 58 percent

Jim Powell, Dem 695,137 - 42 percent

Appeals Court Justice Ruffin Seat

2,825 of 3,303 precincts - 86 percent

Sara Doyle, NP 730,199 - 52 percent

Mike Sheffield, NP 684,488 - 48 percent

Comments (22) Add comment
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factchecker
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factchecker 12/02/08 - 10:11 pm
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Congrats Saxby....Georgia

Congrats Saxby....Georgia kept "The One" from having complete control to try and bring about change to socialism.

ladybug2
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ladybug2 12/02/08 - 10:13 pm
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Obama 08

Obama 08

SusieQ
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SusieQ 12/02/08 - 10:14 pm
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GREAT NEWS!!! I can sleep

GREAT NEWS!!! I can sleep good tonight. Good Night all! SusieQ

DanielKent
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DanielKent 12/02/08 - 10:15 pm
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Another sad day in Georgia

Another sad day in Georgia politics. Georgia just cannot seem to rise above its ignorant redneck neighbors and step into the modern era. As a result, Georgia will remain, like Alabama and Mississippi, a non-player in national and global social, economic and political progress, marginalized and unable to contribute to planning our country's destiny. So very sad.

double_standard
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double_standard 12/02/08 - 10:17 pm
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This is why Georgia is near

This is why Georgia is near the bottom in education and near the top in unemployment. This state will continue this backwards trend until you people wake up and see the light. The GA lottery will fund education it is the now personal spending account for Sonny's helicopter fuel when he takes his trips down to his second home in Florida.

g-dog express
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g-dog express 12/02/08 - 10:33 pm
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DanielKent and double

DanielKent and double standard, you speak against the very thing that makes a great nation. What makes this nation great is differing ideas and a check and balance governing system. If Chambliss lost the dems would have free reign to do as they wish. That is about as anti-American as you can get. Then to assume that voters who voted for Chambliss are ignorant rednecks is nothing more than being what dems call racist. What divides America is attitudes like yours. The only light to see from an earthly standard is as Hillary Clinton once said, "It takes a village." If you haven't caught it yet it takes all of us with ideas that just may differ form yours. Grow up and get on with life.

MaryPlayer
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MaryPlayer 12/02/08 - 10:50 pm
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Okey dokey folks. The proof

Okey dokey folks. The proof is in the pudding. The Obama supporters did not turn out for Martin because they do not care about what happens in America or to America they only wanted a black President. Yes, we can. Yes, we did! Hooray for Georgia ya'll da man.

palomino9
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palomino9 12/03/08 - 02:03 am
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what an embarassment to the

what an embarassment to the state of georgia. I guess more idiots turned out to vote than educated people. God help us all.

gnx
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gnx 12/03/08 - 02:17 am
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Looked like a lot of educated

Looked like a lot of educated people voting to me - maybe you need to find a new ax to grind.

MJ
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MJ 12/03/08 - 04:42 am
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Seems the idiots came out in

Seems the idiots came out in droves about a month ago...and that's what made this election important.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 12/03/08 - 04:47 am
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I think Georgia voters shot

I think Georgia voters shot themselves in the foot. That isn't really that surprising. Now Georgia denizens for better or for worse are saddled with Saxby Chambliss for another 6 years. The claim by Republican stalwarts that returning Chambliss to the Senate keeps a "balance of power" against a Democrat supermajority bent on radical reform is a red herring. Neither all Democrats nor all Republicans march in lock step. President Bill Clinton governed largely by consensus, and I have no doubt that President Barack Obama will also govern by coalition building. President-elect Obama's selection of his cabinet attests to the moderate mindset of this mainstream Establishment politician and counters hysterical Republican claims that Obama is a socialist or a Marxist. I predict that Georgia will become less and less red in the next few election cycles and will become a purple state if not a blue state in a few short years. An anachronism like Saxby Chambliss cannot hold back the tide of change.

MJ
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MJ 12/03/08 - 05:22 am
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Hey there, long name. The

Hey there, long name. The Electorial College has yet to vote so Mr. Obama not officially "President-elect" until December 15th. I hate to say it, but I think the only way to bring real change to this country is through the citizens standing up against the gov't that is failing as a whole.

Trouble1
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Trouble1 12/03/08 - 05:38 am
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congratulations senator

congratulations senator Chambliss, palo, if by "educated people" you mean those to stupid enough to get off their butts and take 5 minutes to make a difference, you are right, more people who care about this country showed up to vote than people who are "educated"

christian134
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christian134 12/03/08 - 06:48 am
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Well listen up folks...If

Well listen up folks...If this sort of abusive discrimination keeps rearing it's nasty little head up I suppose "all us rednecks" are going to have to rebound with all other white groups and bring forth lawsuits to combat the racism against the White Race...Voting for Obama was a vote for what?

justthefacts
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justthefacts 12/03/08 - 07:37 am
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double standard, can you tell

double standard, can you tell me anytime in US History that Ga wasn't near the bottom in Education? The Democrats contolled the South until very recently. Where did Ga rank in the 80s, 90s. Please let me know.

sgachief
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sgachief 12/03/08 - 07:55 am
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jim martin shot himself in

jim martin shot himself in the foot monday by his choice of supporters in atlanta. hooray for Saxby. hooray to Georgia.

IncredibleGuy
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IncredibleGuy 12/03/08 - 08:01 am
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Thank God we voted against

Thank God we voted against the O men......the end might not be near.

dani
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dani 12/03/08 - 08:27 am
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Richmond County never fails

Richmond County never fails to disappoint.

justthefacts
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justthefacts 12/03/08 - 08:39 am
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Didn't see it Bantana, but if

Didn't see it Bantana, but if true, I am surprized. I thought P.E. Obama would have shown some class.

LittleLady
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LittleLady 12/03/08 - 09:18 am
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Is it possible for any

Is it possible for any Liberals to discuss any issues without resorting to name calling???

double_standard
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double_standard 12/03/08 - 09:49 am
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Just the facts Georgia saw

Just the facts Georgia saw great growth in the 90's and that continued up until Sonny was elected. The GA lottery gave kids the opprotunity to attend college who would not have had the chance to attend. The lottery has produced record profits and what does Sonny, Saxby, and Johnny do they raise the GPA and then they do it again. Saxby has said he will vote against everything President Obama presents. We don't need that how is that helping us when he doesn't want to work. Saxby is a glorified welfare recipent I will take my check from the people and not work. These are the types of people we need to get off welfare.

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