Top of the Ticket

Political commentary from the LA Times

« Previous Post | Top of the Ticket Home | Next Post »

Better late than never: Barack Obama helps Jim Martin in the Georgia runoff

November 21, 2008 |  8:52 am

A familiar cast of characters has been stumping for Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss and his opponent, Democrat Jim Martin, in the Senate runoff election in Georgia.

Sen. John McCain traveled to Georgia to campaign for Chambliss, and so did former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Two other former candidates for the Republican presidential nomination, including former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, plan to do the same.

Martin, too, has had his fair share of high-profile surrogates. Former President BIll Clinton campaigned for him in Atlanta this week, and former Vice President Al Gore will hold an event on Sunday on Martin's behalf.

But missing from the fray has been another important Campaign 2008 face (and the man about to become the most powerful leader in the world): Barack Obama.

That is, until now. Obama has taped a radio ad for Martin, and the rumor is that a television commercial will soon follow. Funny though, how the Georgia radio ad happened to leave out the word: "Democrat." Must be just an oversight.

In the radio spot, which you can listen to below, Obama begins by thanking those who voted for him in November.

"But the elections aren't over," Obama cautions. "In Georgia, there's a runoff on Tuesday, December 2, and I want to urge you to turn out one more time and help elect Jim Martin to the United States Senate."

Although Obama has not announced plans to campaign in the state, he has sent a team of 100 field operatives from his presidential campaign to help with Martin’s grass-roots turnout.

Chambliss beat Martin 49.8% to 46.8% on election day, but since he didn't win 50% of the vote, a runoff is set for Dec. 2. Democrats need to win the two undecided Senate races -- in Georgia and Minnesota -- to have a coveted filibuster-proof 60-vote Senate majority.

-- Kate Linthicum

Don't miss political news and backgrounders like this. Register here for automatic cellphone alerts of each new Ticket item.