Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Georgia Senate Race Called For Saxby Chambliss

As I write this, with 92% of precincts reporting, incumbent Republican Senator, Saxby Chambliss is leading the Democratic challenger, Jim Martin, 1,113,017  to 809,974.

Turnout was light throughout the state Tuesday. A spokesman for Secretary of State Karen Handel predicted between 18 and 20 percent of the state's 5.75 million registered voters would cast ballots — far less than the 65 percent who voted in last month's general election.

Martin made the economy the centerpiece of his bid, casting himself as a champion for the neglected middle class. He also linked himself at every opportunity to Barack Obama and his message of change. The Democratic president elect was a no-show on the campaign trail in Georgia but did record a radio ad and automated phone calls for Martin.

In the end, Martin, a 63-year-old former state lawmaker from Atlanta, wasn't able to get Obama voters back to the polls in large enough numbers to overcome the Republican advantage in Georgia, which has become an increasingly a reliable red state since 2002.

Chambliss' argument that he's needed as a firewall to Democratic dominance in Washington resonated with some voters.

Murray Gottlieb, 54, a caterer in Savannah, said he voted for Chambliss because he doesn't want complete Democratic control of the Senate.

"I support Barack Obama now. I hope he's the best president we've ever had and we get out of the funk we're in, but I don't want to give him that much power," Gottlieb said after casting his ballot at a church in Savannah.

The race is already being picked apart and analyzed as Republicans and Democrats look towards 2010

From FiveThirtyEight.com:

A disappointing night for Democrats. On November 4th, Democrats became the de facto ruling party ... circa 2006 or so, the Dems got very good at figuring out what sort of messaging works when you're in the minority, but that's very different from the sort of messaging you have to do when you're in the majority. There's going to be a temptation in some circles to write this one off to poor African-American turnout or whatever, and that certainly is a large portion of the story. But I think the Democrats need to think carefully about what went wrong here as they begin to gear up for 2010.

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