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

December 2, 2008 |  6:59 pm

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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