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Friday, January 25, 2013 - 11:04am

Chambliss' Retirement Opens Up Senate Race

Senator Saxby Chambliss announced Friday he will not seek re-election to a third term. Chambliss says he’s frustrated at the gridlock in Congress.

Political analysts believe Chambliss would have faced a tough primary fight. He angered tea party republicans with his participation in the so-called Gang of Six. That was a bipartisan Senate effort to reach a budget compromise involving tax increases and spending cuts.

Senator Johnny Isakson says he has no doubt Chambliss would have been re-elected.

“The gridlock in Washington has been frustrating for the last four years. And when you’re sitting on the floor of the Senate at 2:30 in the morning New Year’s Day voting you realize something in the system’s broken. But I think that frustration as he said was part of the decision.” he says.

UGA political scientist Charles Bullock says Chambliss’ retirement opens the door to a number of Georgia republicans. “We can anticipate that next summer at the republican primary there’s going to be a large field to select from.”

Mike Berlon, chair of the Georgia Democratic Party, says Chambliss’ retirement improves democrats chances.
“I don’t think that there’s any question we are a battleground state and that you’re going to see a lot more play at the national level.” Berlon says.

He says the national democratic party will provide more financial support for this election in Georgia than it did during the presidential race.

Berlon says “Statewide we’re pretty strong. We are pretty weak at the local level because of the redistricting that’s taken place. But I think republicans would be making a mistake if they underestimated the democratic power in the state.”

He says Georgia is becoming more diverse, and people of color are more likely to vote for a democrat.

UGA political scientist Charles Bullock doesn’t rate democrats’ chances very high. “I don’t think Georgia in 2014 is going to be quite at the stage where a democrat has much hope of winning statewide. And then there’s also the question exactly who would democrats put forward who would have much in name recognition.”he says.

Bullock expects a large field of republicans will seek the office. Congressmen Paul Broun and Tom Price have already expressed interest in a run for the Senate.

Herman Cain says he is not interested in running for the Senate because he is enthusiastically committed to his new radio show with WSB/Cox Media.