Monday, December 01, 2008

Georgia Run-Off Election Tomorrow

The Georgia Senate race between Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss and Democratic challenger Jim Martin will be decided tomorrow in the special run-off election that state law mandated when neither candidate received at least 50 percent of the vote on November 4th.

Given that Georgia is one of the reddest states in the country -- I'll withhold my own description of what that really means -- it's amazing that Martin even got as close as he did. He certainly benefited by huge African-American turnout on election day and the presence of a third-party candidate who helped keep Chambliss under the 50-percent threshold.

But Martin is still down in all the polls and it would take a political miracle for him to prevail in tomorrow's election. A Politico poll conducted November 23rd showed Chambliss leading 50 percent to 47 percent, while a recent survey had the race at 52 percent for Chambliss and 46 percent for Martin.

Sarah Palin is expected to campaign for Chambliss in Georgia today and the incumbent has also benefited from appearances by John McCain and other GOP heavy hitters. And, while Martin has appeared with both Al Gore and former President Bill Clinton and has been heavily assisted by President-elect Barack Obama's former Georgia campaign staff, I still believe Obama himself should have made a campaign appearance or two on Martin's behalf.

Even understanding the significant tasks being worked on by Obama and his team and the fear of losing political capital should he campaign there and then have Martin lose, I know how many Senate bills come down to one vote and the decision to keep Obama away may come back to haunt the Democratic White House down the road.

The Senate Democratic caucus currently has 58 members, with the Minnesota recount still underway and the Martin-Chambliss race left to decide what the Senate's final composition will be for the 111th Congress.

There's a great report from Sean Quinn of on the state of the race in Georgia and how the organizational edge goes to Jim Martin but, if I had to bet a month's pay right now, I would wager that Chambliss retains his seat.

At that point, Georgians will get what they deserve: Six more years of this undistinguished legislator and general buffoon representing them in the U.S. Senate.