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Chambliss' Georgia Senate win stymies Democrats' 60-seat hopes

Well, now we know why President-elect Barack Obama was afraid to go campaign for Democrat Jim Martin in the Georgia U.S. Senate runoff election.

The about-to-be president knew that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin would pull it out for Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss. She campaigned for him there all day yesterday. (Relax, we're just kidding.)

Looks like Saxby has won a second six-year term to represent the Peachtree State that has been so reliably Republican in presidential elections despite what the first GOP president, Abraham Lincoln, allowed Gen. Sherman to do down there.

(UPDATE: Chambliss did win. To see the updated news video, click on the "Read more" line below.)

Chambliss had been uncharacteristically forced into a runoff because state law requires that the winner get 50%-plus-one of the votes. And in a three-man race on Nov. 4 with an African American on the presidential ballot attracting thousands of African American voters to the polls, Chambliss came up a few votes short against his college fraternity brother, an ex-state legislator.

No African American distraction today. No Libertarian distraction to siphon off 3.4% of the vote. Just GOP vs Dem. And nasty weather.

The race was more closely watched than most because Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was hoping to pick up the Georgia seat and snatch the still-counting Minnesota race to give him a 60-seat filibuster-proof majority (including two independents who caucus with the Democrats).

Now, the best he can do is 59 if comedian Democrat Al Franken topples incumbent non-comedian Republican Norm Coleman in their agonizing recount that Coleman narrowly leads.

Bill Clinton and Al Gore campaigned unsuccessfully for Martin. And Barack and Michelle recorded robo-calls to mobilize their base, along with Obama's state presidential campaign that lost Georgia to the Republicans. But that base didn't turn out.

BTW, John McCain, Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani and Mike Huckabee also had a big hand in helping Saxby. But Sarah was the closer among conservatives.

--Andrew Malcolm

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Comments () | Archives (10)

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Dumb, Dumb Georgia rednecks. Saxby Chambliss will have no power, Georgia will be left out in the cold in this congress.

If this Congress and administration faces extra difficulty getting things done--and it will--we know whom to blame: Georgians. Georgians who listened to Sarah Palin, and voted for a draft dodger who denigrated a man who gave his body in service of his country.

They should all be ashamed of themselves, and we shouldn't ever let them forget it.

I find it hard to believe that Andrew Malcolm didn't mention Ludacris campaigning for Martin.

By the way, didn't Obama have a bunch of Ludacris' songs on his iPod?

(Hard to believe you didn't read Monday's item, which did mention him.)

Good grief! Looking at his voting record, it appears that Chambliss has pretty consistently voted against women's reproductive rights, against birth control, against alternative energy, against the environment, against children's health insurance- for the war, for unrestricted gun ownership and for oil drilling ... just about anywhere. Don't women vote in Georgia?

I'm sure women vote there, they just disagree with the left wing approach. And that's ok it's what democracy is all about.

Balance of power is good. neither dems not reps should have supermajority ever. That's too much power.

This is the begining of the post-obama power rebalancing. In 2 years republicans will regain the senate or at least bring things back to 50-50. In 4 years, if obama survives the re-election (which is tied to how fast, and if ever he can get the country out of recesion), he will most likely face a republican controlled congress and a seriously weakened house support.

Obama will never have as much power as he will in the first 2 years. So he better use it well while it lasts.

Georgia is not a bunch of rednecks. Atlanta is a huge metro city if you haven't noticed. I think the congress should be mixed...why should one party have all the power? I'm indy by the way.

It worked! With two of the senators OFF the legislative branch power, and the lack of super majority, now the real legislative writing power can be voted on.

All Obama can do now is cry and Hillary drops her jaw.

If Chambliss was the worst person in the entire world(not saying that he is) it is better than no checks and balances in government. Anyone -Republican or Democrat alike should recognize the need for that in a democratic society.

Hi Andrew,
I just wanted to let you know that linked to your article today in a piece we wrote titled 'Republicans revenge in Georgia.'We enjoyed reading your take on this subject. Thanks, and all the best,
Harold Maass, Editor

(Thanks, Harold. We appreciate the cite and your loyal reading. We'll check out yours too.)

Its a shame we didn't just let the south secede from the Union. After living in WV and rural Virginia for the past 5 years I have seen nothing but dumb rednecks walkin around in confederate flag t shirts with family combined IQ's under 100.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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