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.