Breaking: Saxby Chambliss to retire

posted at 11:01 am on January 25, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Republicans will have to defend at least one Senate seat without its incumbent in 2014.  Saxby Chambliss informed his staff that he will not seek re-election in 2014, leaving an open seat in deep-red Georgia to fill:

Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss will announce Friday that he will retire from the U.S. Senate and not seek a third term next year.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Chambliss informed his staff this morning.

Chambliss was a member of the so-called “Gang of Six,” a bipartisan group of senators that tried last year to forge an agreement on ways to reduce the debt. Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., had been considering a challenge to Chambliss in a GOP primary.

Chambliss, 69, was first elected to the Senate in 2002 after serving in the U.S. House for four terms. He defeated Democratic incumbent Max Cleland, a Vietnam veteran and triple amputee, in that first race after running controversial ads that included images of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.

In 2008, Chambliss had a closer-than-expected fight against Democrat Jim Martin, winning by only 3 percentage points.Democrats were buoyed by high-turnout in the presidential primary that year, and poured resources into defeating Chambliss.

Chambliss hasn’t exactly been a darling of the Right, although his voting record is still conservative:

Chambliss has grown increasingly frustrated with the pervasive gridlock in the Senate — particularly its inability to reach a grand bargain to slash deficits.

The move is certain to prompt furious effort among Republicans to hold onto the seat. After working with a bipartisan group of lawmakers, first known as the Gang of Six, Chambliss came under criticism from the right for advocating a major deal with higher tax revenues. Still, he appeared in a strong position to fend off a primary challenge from the right.

This will produce an opening for Tea Party activists and a challenge for the GOP establishment.  John Cornyn warned earlier that the NRSC would start getting more involved in candidate recruitment after grassroots candidates in Missouri and Indiana lost races that had widely been predicted as relatively easy wins for Republicans.  This may be the first test of this establishment activism, as the GOP can hardly afford to lose a Senate seat from the South.

The AJC’s Jim Galloway notes that a few names are already getting some play:

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.

Who else might be interested in the opening?  Both Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich have national followings, and both have substantial credibility on the Right.  Cain has been very popular with the Tea Party. I’d guess that at least one of them will start exploring a new campaign in the near future.

If Cain is interested in jumping into the race, at least he can provide continuity for Chambliss’ latest effort:

Wednesday night, U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), introduced S.122, The FairTax Act, which would implement a simpler, less-cumbersome tax code. Chambliss has introduced the FairTax legislation every year he has been in the Senate.

“The current tax code has become too burdensome and complex, and is filled with provisions that only benefit a few Americans at the expense of everyone else. That’s simply not right,” said Chambliss. “The FairTax Act would create a fairer, simpler tax code that allows every American the freedom to determine his or her own priorities and opportunities.”

The Fair Tax was an integral part of Cain’s presidential agenda.


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Comment pages: 1 2

portlandon on January 25, 2013 at 12:13 PM

Good grief, I missed that last one. It’s good to have an all purpose whipping boy who can run people off by both endorsing and ignoring any given candidate. She’s like magic.

Cindy Munford on January 25, 2013 at 12:18 PM

Cindy Munford on January 25, 2013 at 12:18 PM

Yep. Acording to the haters, she’s brilliant and stupid at the same time.

kingsjester on January 25, 2013 at 12:21 PM

What a shame, I was looking forward to working on [insert name of any Ga conservative candidate] to send Saxby packing.

David in ATL on January 25, 2013 at 12:13 PM

It’s not a shame. It’s a flawless victory. The mere specter of a potential primary challenge by an as yet undefined conservative candidate sent him bolting for the hills.

Now it’s just a matter of determining who exactly that conservative will be.

Gingotts on January 25, 2013 at 12:21 PM

kingsjester on January 25, 2013 at 12:21 PM

Yeah, me to.

Cindy Munford on January 25, 2013 at 12:23 PM

Erick Erikson perhaps?
I like Karen Handel, too.

One of those candidates listed in the blog above went off about evolution being from the pit of hell and the other went off on rape recently, defending Akin. No more of that. We need a conservative who can stay on message and not step on landmines.

I agree, someone young, some new blood. What’s with these guys staying in there into their 70s and 80s anyway. Like someone above said, I think Zaxby saw the writing on the wall. Thank goodness.

cep on January 25, 2013 at 12:23 PM

It’s not a shame. It’s a flawless victory. The mere specter of a potential primary challenge by an as yet undefined conservative candidate sent him bolting for the hills.

Now it’s just a matter of determining who exactly that conservative will be.

Gingotts on January 25, 2013 at 12:21 PM

We have a deep bench to find a more than suitable replacement.

David in ATL on January 25, 2013 at 12:24 PM

portlandon on January 25, 2013 at 12:13 PM

Wow. Sounds like Obama supporters. Claim that he can move mountains and then blame Republicans when it turns out he can’t.

It was their inability to see any flaws in him that drove me nuts/made me suspicious. I supported Newt to the bitter end but realized and would freely admit that he had some serious flaws.

Speaking of Newt….Get in there Newt!!!

29Victor on January 25, 2013 at 12:32 PM

You may be sure that potential candidates will be extensively questioned by the media regarding their opinions of conception resulting from rape.

ElectricPhase on January 25, 2013 at 12:40 PM

Cain has already said he will not run(THANK GOD). If you have ever listened to him on the radio, he is just not that smart. He is all show.

As for NEWT……NO, HELL NO!!!!!!

I’m sick and tired of old has-beens.

Barred on January 25, 2013 at 12:44 PM

Republicans will have to defend at least one Senate seat without its incumbent in 2014. Saxby Chambliss informed his staff that he will not seek re-election in 2014, leaving an open seat in deep-red Georgia to fill:

Good riddance you turncoat.

PappyD61 on January 25, 2013 at 12:52 PM

She doesn’t stand a chance. She is a BS artist and a liar. Her resume is a fraud.

David in ATL on January 25, 2013 at 12:14 PM

Do tell.

ToddPA on January 25, 2013 at 12:55 PM

Posted: 11:34 a.m. Friday, Jan. 25, 2013

Sen Saxby Chambliss to retire
*****************************

en. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) announced today that he will not run for re-election in 2014, becoming the second Senator to announce retirement plans for the next mid-term election.

Chambliss faced an almost certain challenge from a more conservative Republican candidate, and his decision seems certain to produce a wide-open GOP primary in Georgia.

Here is a statement released by Chambliss this morning:
*******************************************************
*******************************************************

“After much contemplation and reflection, I have decided not to run for re-election to the Senate in 2014.

‘This is a decision Julianne and I have thought through and prayed about for many weeks. I am humbled by and grateful for the extraordinary trust of Georgians, who have allowed me to represent them for 20 years in the United States House and Senate.

“I am proud of my conservative voting record in fulfilling those duties. In 2008, I was honored to receive more votes than any other statewide elected official in the history of Georgia. Lest anyone think this decision is about a primary challenge, I have no doubt that had I decided to be a candidate, I would have won re-election. In these difficult political times, I am fortunate to have actually broadened my support around the state and the nation due to the stances I have taken.

“Instead, this is about frustration, both at a lack of leadership from the White House and at the dearth of meaningful action from Congress, especially on issues that are the foundation of our nation’s economic health. The debt-ceiling debacle of 2011 and the recent fiscal-cliff vote showed Congress at its worst and, sadly, I don’t see the legislative gridlock and partisan posturing improving anytime soon. For our nation to be strong, for our country to prosper, we cannot continue to play politics with the American economy.

“I never intended to come to Washington and stay for 20 years. But in that time, I have been proud to fight for the economic good of Georgia and the security of our nation. That includes work on four farm bills, 18 defense-authorization bills, chairmanship of the House Terrorism Subcommittee in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, and being chairman or ranking member of major Senate committees for 8 of the past 10 years.

“Perhaps the greatest honor has been to champion our men and women in uniform, their families, and the Georgia military bases and contractors who create private-sector jobs.

“I am truly grateful for the love, support, trust and assistance of family and friends who have helped me along the way. I am especially indebted to my staff – past and present – whose loyalty and knowledge have not only served me well, but have served the people of Georgia superbly.

“There are two years left in my term, and there is lots left to do. I am in good health, and I plan to continue working hard to represent the best interests of Georgians, and to do my utmost to help restore America to its economic greatness.”
===============================================

http://www.wsbtv.com/weblogs/jamie-dupree/2013/jan/25/sen-saxby-chambliss-retire/

canopfor on January 25, 2013 at 12:56 PM

Newt….Time for another revolution

workingclass artist on January 25, 2013 at 1:00 PM

For entertainment value alone –> Newt!

EddieC on January 25, 2013 at 1:01 PM

We have a deep bench to find a more than suitable replacement.

David in ATL on January 25, 2013 at 12:24 PM

Indeed good news there. While the search can begin with Broun and Price, we have no need to race to a conclusion here. Perhaps there is a younger face in your state government that deserves consideration. Ted Cruz was far from a household name two years ago. If your bench has a star on it waiting for an opportunity, time to bring him forward before the establishment hands us a new Chambliss for a new generation.

Erick Erikson perhaps?

He wasted no time reaffirming that he is still out.

Gingotts on January 25, 2013 at 1:02 PM

“Instead, this is about frustration, both at a lack of leadership from the White House and at the dearth of meaningful action from Congress, especially on issues that are the foundation of our nation’s economic health. The debt-ceiling debacle of 2011 and the recent fiscal-cliff vote showed Congress at its worst and, sadly, I don’t see the legislative gridlock and partisan posturing improving anytime soon. For our nation to be strong, for our country to prosper, we cannot continue to play politics with the American economy.
==========

After almost 5 years of Hopey/Changey/Copey,Destroying of America,
EXHAUSTION,is also present,and with a Daily Obama SCROTCHED POLICIES
Fatigue has set in!!

canopfor on January 25, 2013 at 1:04 PM

Erick Erikson perhaps?

h-e-double-hocky sticks no!!

gatorboy on January 25, 2013 at 1:07 PM

For entertainment value alone –> Newt!

EddieC on January 25, 2013 at 1:01 PM

Why entertainment only? Newt is the last Republican to actually accomplish anything conservative in Washington.

29Victor on January 25, 2013 at 1:16 PM

Some good news.

besser tot als rot on January 25, 2013 at 1:24 PM

Neal Boortz retired and Cain took the 9-12am spot on WSB radio in Atl. Doubt that Cain would give that up at this point, or I’d be very surprised if he did.

poppieseeds on January 25, 2013 at 1:28 PM

Excellent. Lots of conservative options, Gingrich or Broun would be good.

sauldalinsky on January 25, 2013 at 1:35 PM

Note: Anyone continuing to use the term “Mittbot” after the last travesty of an election is confirmed to be what all of the “Ron Paul Supporters” were:

People who supported and voted for Obama.

williamg on January 25, 2013 at 1:50 PM

I think you mean convincing us. If paid, I hope someone got their money back.

Cindy Munford on January 25, 2013 at 11:55 AM

But you didn’t convince any of the so-called RINOs, either. On the contrary. I really don’t know why so many of those who call themselves the “real conservatives” are gloating about the loss of this election, as if it were a victory for them.

Gelsomina on January 25, 2013 at 1:53 PM

Yes! Another pseudo-conservative out of the way.Now lets make sure we don’t get a conservative nominee with foot in mouth disease and we should keep this seat!

redware on January 25, 2013 at 1:54 PM

Gelsomina on January 25, 2013 at 1:53 PM

Sorry that being an ABO voter wasn’t good enough for you. I have never called my self a “real consrvative” nor have I ever gloated over the loss. I may not have been in love with Gov. Romney but I certainly new he was the better choice.

Cindy Munford on January 25, 2013 at 2:01 PM

Gelsomina on January 25, 2013 at 1:53 PM

Oh, and I still don’t believe that calling people names is a winning strategy and I believe you just proved it. Again.

Cindy Munford on January 25, 2013 at 2:02 PM

his voting record is still conservative

ummm, no, don’t think so. Maybe we can get a real conservative in there now.

RedInMD on January 25, 2013 at 2:05 PM

Somebody young and as-yet untainted by politics would be nice. Tea Party-ish candidate is a requirement.

Othniel on January 25, 2013 at 2:44 PM

Oh, and I still don’t believe that calling people names is a winning strategy and I believe you just proved it. Again.

Cindy Munford on January 25, 2013 at 2:02 PM

What name did I call you?

Gelsomina on January 25, 2013 at 2:49 PM

grassroots candidates in Missouri

Again: 12-year congressman =/= “grassroots candidate in Missouri”.

alwaysfiredup on January 25, 2013 at 2:49 PM

She doesn’t stand a chance. She is a BS artist and a liar. Her resume is a fraud.

David in ATL on January 25, 2013 at 12:14 PM

If she lost against Deal, she couldn’t get her mother’s vote. Sarah Palin lost a lot of credibility here in GA when she came campaigning for her.

DanaSmiles on January 25, 2013 at 3:06 PM

On a national level the blacks will destroy Herman Cain, but on the local level they like him. The deal with “white women” will play well in Georgia. Nationally they can subject him to major ridicule, but locally, they won’t.

hip shot on January 25, 2013 at 3:10 PM

Gelsomina on January 25, 2013 at 2:49 PM

Not me specifically but “Rinos” and “real conservatives”. What does that even mean? I wouldn’t know how to label anyone with those terms and yet they are used disparagingly here all the time, along with TruCons and SocCons. I see absolutely nothing positive in trying to group our side against each other. Especially since we know practically nothing about each other and wouldn’t know it we passed on the street. But it doesn’t stop us from trying to alienate each other. I think we have two presidential elections that would indicate job well done.

Cindy Munford on January 25, 2013 at 3:17 PM

If she lost against Deal, she couldn’t get her mother’s vote. Sarah Palin lost a lot of credibility here in GA when she came campaigning for her.

DanaSmiles on January 25, 2013 at 3:06 PM

You nailed that. She would not have made the runoff if the airhead from Alaska had not mailed in her support. Handel was the least conservative in the field and Palin endorsed her because she wore a skirt.

David in ATL on January 25, 2013 at 3:19 PM

She doesn’t stand a chance. She is a BS artist and a liar. Her resume is a fraud.

David in ATL on January 25, 2013 at 12:14 PM

Do tell.

ToddPA on January 25, 2013 at 12:55 PM

I was a partner in the accounting firm where she claimed she was a HR executive. Accounting partnerships have partners and employees, they don’t have executives. She was the managing partners flunky, a glorified assistant…..period. She is also a very nasty, foul mouthed tyrant….ask anyone that worked on her campaign about her mental stability.

David in ATL on January 25, 2013 at 3:25 PM

Hey, Hillary shopped around & took up residence in New York to win.
All’s fair in politics.
Allen West.

Belle on January 25, 2013 at 3:27 PM

On a national level the blacks will destroy Herman Cain, but on the local level they like him. The deal with “white women” will play well in Georgia. Nationally they can subject him to major ridicule, but locally, they won’t.

hip shot on January 25, 2013 at 3:10 PM

Cain blew it when he ran for president and was too stupid to think his serial womanizing would remain private. He is damaged goods.

David in ATL on January 25, 2013 at 3:29 PM

According to The Daily Caller, both Mr. Cain and Mr. Gingrich are saying they will not run for this seat.

Cindy Munford on January 25, 2013 at 3:37 PM

I was a partner in the accounting firm where she claimed she was a HR executive. Accounting partnerships have partners and employees, they don’t have executives. She was the managing partners flunky, a glorified assistant…..period. She is also a very nasty, foul mouthed tyrant….ask anyone that worked on her campaign about her mental stability.

David in ATL on January 25, 2013 at 3:25 PM

I’ve met her and talked to her when she came and gave a campaign speech at our local RHQ meeting. She would never answer some guy about her 2nd amendment views. That’s when I pretty much saw who she was.

DanaSmiles on January 25, 2013 at 4:22 PM

When is Allen West moving to GA?

riddick on January 25, 2013 at 4:26 PM

Do not take the Bob Barr bait if suddenly “converts” back to being Republican.

mwbri on January 25, 2013 at 11:17 AM

Barr’s just what we need – a man who looke like a Nazi prison guard and works with the ACLU. LOL!

bw222 on January 25, 2013 at 4:30 PM

riddick on January 25, 2013 at 4:26 PM

Sadly he says no to moving.

Cindy Munford on January 25, 2013 at 4:32 PM

Look at Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee – solid red states, yet 5 of their 6 senators are flaming RINOs.

bw222 on January 25, 2013 at 5:26 PM

Look at Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee – solid red states, yet 5 of their 6 senators are flaming RINOs.

bw222 on January 25, 2013 at 5:26 PM

Amen. Good grief is Bob Corker a pansy.

Jaibones on January 25, 2013 at 6:04 PM

Not me specifically but “Rinos” and “real conservatives”. What does that even mean? I wouldn’t know how to label anyone with those terms and yet they are used disparagingly here all the time, along with TruCons and SocCons. I see absolutely nothing positive in trying to group our side against each other. Especially since we know practically nothing about each other and wouldn’t know it we passed on the street. But it doesn’t stop us from trying to alienate each other. I think we have two presidential elections that would indicate job well done.

Cindy Munford on January 25, 2013 at 3:17 PM

I agree with you, but why the snark about the paid Romney supporters?

Gelsomina on January 25, 2013 at 9:52 PM

Who else might be interested in the opening? Both Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich have national followings, and both have substantial credibility on the Right. Cain has been very popular with the Tea Party.

Herman just took over for Neil Boortz’s syndicated radio show (based out of WSB AM/FM Atlanta) this week. This after having given up his original nighttime show on WSB to run for President a year earlier.

Even if he wanted to run again, it’s possible that his radio contract was written that he couldn’t do so.

Myron Falwell on January 25, 2013 at 10:38 PM

My guess would be that Chip Rogers throws in.

kregg on January 25, 2013 at 11:18 PM

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