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Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss To Retire

Atlanta Journal-Constitution political reporter Jim Galloway reveals this morning that two-term Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss will not seek re-election in 2014:

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss will announce this morning that he’s dropping plans to run for a third term in 2014, a decision certain to set off an avalanche of Republican candidates who will seek to replace him.

Word out of Washington is that Chambliss broke the news to his senior staff this morning.

At least two GOP House members from Georgia, Paul Broun of Athens and Tom Price of Roswell, have been contemplating primary challenges to Chambliss, who has been criticized for leading the bipartisan “Gang of Six” effort to broker a deal to address a $16 trillion federal deficit.

(…)

More members of Congress – including Phil Gingrey of Roswell and Tom Graves of Ranger – are certain to consider the race now that it lacks an incumbent. In the state Capitol, one name has already popped up — that of state Sen. Ross Tolleson, a Republican who hails from former U.S. senator Sam Nunn’s home town of Perry.

On the Democratic side, U.S. Rep. John Barrow of Augusta has said he wasn’t interested in challenging Chambliss. Whether or not that disinterest applies to an open seat may be another matter.

Another name that pop-up as speculation about a successor begins is likely to be former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel, who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for Governor in 2010. Given the political make-up of Georgia, it’s likely that whoever wins the Republican nomination will win the General Election. Unless, of course, Georgia Republicans end up nominating someone like Paul Broun in which case they may well hand yet another winnable seat to the opposition.

UPDATE (James Joyner): Also from Galloway’s report:

Talk radio host Herman Cain, a GOP candidate for president who began his political career in Georgia with a 2004 run for the U.S. Senate, quickly removed himself from consideration this morning. But don’t rule out former House speaker Newt Gingrich.

I’m not sure what Gingrich would have to gain at this point by running for the Senate; it’s really a step down from Speaker.

And it’s noteworthy that Chambliss, who’s hardly a liberal, was in danger of being primaried.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Unless, of course, Georgia Republicans end up nominating someone like Paul Broun in which case they may well hand yet another winnable seat to the opposition.

    I call that, “Pulling an Akin.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  2. C. Clavin says:

    Another small Government Republican that has spent 17 years on the Government teet.
    Another warmonger that got a deferment for himself.
    Another Constitution lover that wanted to turn “the sheriff loose to arrest every Muslim that crosses the state line.”
    Another hypocrit gone.
    Good riddance.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 3

  3. Translation: “I’m not going to let myself be embarrassed by getting destroyed in a primary, so I’m out.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  4. Rafer Janders says:

    I’m not sure what Gingrich would have to gain at this point by running for the Senate; it’s really a step down from Speaker.

    That would be true if he was Speaker now. But being a sitting United States Senator, with actual responsibilities and power, is a step UP from being a former Speaker who had to resign in disgrace and who hasn’t held any political office in the 15 years since 1998.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  5. Cain has a cushy radio job now, of course he wasn’t going to run.

    As for the danger of Broun winning the primary, that seems to be less likely in an open primary were he’d be up against people like Price, Handel, and others.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  6. Mr. Prosser says:

    After what Chambliss did to Max Cleland in 2002 to get elected I would have enjoyed watching him be primaried and to lose to an idiot like Broun.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 1

  7. stonetools says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Another hypocrit gone.
    Good riddance.

    Unfortunately, his replacement is likely to be the same or worse.
    That is what is dispiriting to a liberal like me. There is ZERO chance that a candidate even barely acceptable to me can be elected as a Senator from Georgia.
    I really do believe that Obama may be wrong , and there really are two Americas out there-Blue/ Red or United States of Canada/Jesusland or whatever.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

  8. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Indeed. As I recall, one of Dr. Paul Broun’s most recent public statements was that the science of embryology was “spawned in the pit of hell.” One wonders how he made it through medical school, which promulgates all sorts of similarly Satanic principles.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  9. Rick Almeida says:

    @stonetools:

    There is ZERO chance that a candidate even barely acceptable to me can be elected as a Senator from Georgia.

    If you’re a Georgia resident, that is very frustrating. If you’re not, well, luckily you get your own elected legislators.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  10. stonetools says:

    @CSK:

    I’m thinking that Broun could win, especially if the moderates split the “rational Republican” vote. It would be a gamble if a Democrat ran and ” supported” Broun- the way Claire MacCaskill did with Akin and Harry Reid did with Angle.Once Broun becomes the Republican candidate, the Democrat could then run as the “sane” candidate.
    Its worth a shot, although the Republicans are on to that maneuver by now. And the downside is that the “crazy” candidate could still win in a state like Georgia.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  11. rudderpedals says:

    It’ll be Gingrey or Broun. That should be delightful: Two creationist physicians. Perhaps a another Missouri / Indiana too as history doesn’t repeat itself but it does rhyme.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  12. humanoid.panda says:

    Problem is that a Democrat would have to have the sort of financial advantage that an incumbent like Reid/MacCaskill had in order to pursue that strategy. This is extremely unlikely to happen. Now, if I had a million dollars lying around, I might have formed a TRUE CONSERVATIVE PATRIOTIC VOICE super-pac and used it to shill for Broun…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. stonetools says:

    @Rick Almeida:

    If you’re a Georgia resident, that is very frustrating. If you’re not, well, luckily you get your own elected legislators.

    I live in Virginia, where there at least a chance . I’ll take my Congressman Moran over any Republican, and I am satisfied with my Senators. but the struggle continues. We have to prevent Attorney General Wingnut from becoming Governor, and stopping this electoral college scheme.There’s a lot to do.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

  14. Moosebreath says:

    @rudderpedals:

    I think Karen Handel is a better bet than either Gingrey or Broun.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  15. rudderpedals says:

    @Moosebreath: Good info at that wiki. I forgot all about Komen and Palin and this person. I think you’re right – she will be very attractive to Georgia GOPers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  16. wr says:

    @Doug Mataconis: I can’t wait for Handel’s campaign slogan:

    “I destroyed the entire Susan G. Komen foundation in a matter of weeks — imagine what I could do to the federal government!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  17. Rafer Janders says:

    @Rick Almeida:

    If you’re a Georgia resident, that is very frustrating. If you’re not, well, luckily you get your own elected legislators.

    Except, of course, that a Senator from Georgia doesn’t just vote on and craft legislation that affects Georgia residents. He also gets to do so for legislation that affects people from other states.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  18. al-Ameda says:

    It’s a sign of these lovely times that a guy as retrograde as Chambliss is essentially being run out of his party as a RINO. Gingrey? Broun?

    Whatever. Things have been going downhill in Georgia ever since Sherman visited Atlanta.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  19. al-Ameda says:

    @wr:

    “I destroyed the entire Susan G. Komen foundation in a matter of weeks — imagine what I could do to the federal government!”

    We have a winner!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0