Georgia Sen. Chambliss wins re-election in runoff
By SHANNON McCAFFREY
Dec 2, 9:30 PM (ET)
ATLANTA (AP) - 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.
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.
Former President Bill Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore both stumped for Martin. President-elect Barack Obama recorded a radio ad for Martin and sent 100 field operatives, but he didn't campaign in the state despite a request from Martin to do so.
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.
For a first hand report from the Chambliss-Palin rally in Savannah click here.
In your face Obama! Sarah Palin has more star power in Georgia than you and all the Dems put together!
Georgia Senate race tests Obama
Democrats had asked for more visible support
By Sasha Issenberg
December 2, 2008
ATLANTA - Jim Martin, the Democrat trying for the second time in a month to unseat Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss, was standing in one of Barack Obama's old campaign offices the other day, circled by a staff paid for with Obama's dollars, facing a large banner bearing Obama's image.
The postcard-sized handbills stacked around the room were old door-knockers printed to promote the Obama-Martin ticket, crudely cut in half for their new purpose. "For President," some of them still read, in Obama's familiar Gotham typeface.
Today's runoff election between Martin and Chambliss will offer the first test of whether Obama is able to bequeath more to local allies than merely the trappings of a presidential campaign. The results may offer a tentative answer to questions that will ghost American politics for at least the next four years: Is there a sustainable Obama coalition, and is the Obama machine durable? Has Obama created anything greater than himself?
"He has a political army that is truly impressive, but that kind of loyalty to a person rather than to an institution is not as transferable," said Donald Fowler, a former Democratic National Committee chairman. "Yet this is a new day and this is a new kind of organization: it is highly electronic and it might work."