Election 2008

John Bazemore/AP
Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., gestures as he speaks during an election-night party Tuesday,
Dec. 2, 2008 in Atlanta. 

Saxby Chambliss Defeats Jim Martin in Georgia Senate Runoff

December 03, 2008 09:38 AM
by Emily Coakley
Democrats will not get a filibuster-proof Senate, as Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss won a runoff Tuesday that drew far fewer voters than the general election.

Runoff for Senate Brought out Stars

One of the remaining open Senate races has now concluded as Republican incumbent Chambliss won 57 percent of the vote to Martin’s 43 percent, with 99 percent of precincts reporting and nearly 2 million votes cast, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Talking to Chambliss’ supporters, Mike Duncan, Republican National Committee Chairman, said, “Republicans still know how to win an election,” the Journal-Constitution reported.

In the days approaching the runoff, big names visited Georgia to show their support for both candidates.

Former President Bill Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore have made separate appearances for Martin, CNN reported. And for Chambliss, 2008 presidential candidates John McCain, Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee have appeared at rallies, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Bill Schneider, CNN’s senior political analyst, said the big names brought much-needed attention to the runoff.

“Generally, they can help boost turnout because of all the media attention. Turnout in a runoff election is often very low compared to a presidential election, and each side needs to get as many of their voters to the polls as possible.”

Background: Runoff necessary in Georgia

The state requires that a candidate receive a majority of 50 percent-plus one of the votes cast, and when the Election Day votes were counted, Chambliss had 49.8 percent of the vote, the Associated Press said. Martin had 46.8 percent of the vote, according to unofficial returns, while the Libertarian candidate, Allen Buckley, had 3.4 percent.

Chambliss, who won a second term Tuesday, was among Republicans who were facing close races, according to findingDulcinea.

Key Players: Saxby Chambliss, Jim Martin

Saxby Chambliss

Chambliss was elected to the Senate in 2002 after being elected to the House in the 1994 Republican revolution. He is a lawyer who earned his legal degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law after graduating from the University of Georgia.

Jim Martin

Martin grew up in Georgia, and studied at the University of Georgia. He is an Army veteran and a lawyer, and also spent 18 years in the Georgia State House. He was also head of the state’s Department of Human Resources.

Related Topics: Alaska Senate race decided; Minnesota Senate race being recounted

Ted Stevens, one of the longest-serving people in the U.S. Senate, appears to have lost his re-election bid, findingDulcinea reported Nov. 19. Stevens was more than 3,700 votes behind Mark Begich with just 2,500 votes left to be counted. 

"Stevens was recently found guilty of failing to report that he had received $250,000 in gifts and home renovations. He said he does not plan to ask President Bush to pardon him before he leaves office," findingDulcinea said.

Another undecided race is between Sen. Norm Coleman and Al Franken in Minnesota. That race is being recounted, according to findingDulcinea.

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