Friday, January 25, 2013

Georgia Senate: It's going to be so much fun

Georgia Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss has announced that he will retire at the end of 2014 or another way of puttng it, he will not seek re-election in 2014.  Chambliss was in the national spotlight starting in 2011 for being a part of the "Gang of Six" who hoped to work with Democrats and Republicans on a deficit reduction deal.  Ultimately, they came up short of bipartisan appeal.  Chambliss and the other Republican members of this gang had strong bonds with Democrats and ended up putting in place a framework that would include increases in revenues and cuts in entitlement spending.  Because of the increases in revenues, there was a strong backlash among the Right.  Organizations backed by the Tea Party already announced that they might challenge Chambliss in the primary.  Public Policy Polling found that Chambliss's approval, or lack thereof, would be a hindrance to him keeping his Senate seat. 

Georgia Representatives Tom Price and Paul Broun expressed interest in challenging Chambliss in the primary.  Without him there, it seems likely that one or both of them will run in the primary.  Georgia's former Secretary of State Karen Handel might throw her name in the mix, as well.  Handel ran for governor in 2010 with the backing of Sarah Palin.  Handel's probably best known now, as the person who withheld funding for Planned Parenthood from the Susan G. Komen foundation.  Among those on the Right, defundng Planned Parenthood is a very popular move.  So, she might get some interest from the Right.  Public Policy Polling found that that among Georgia Republicans, the most popular candidate to replace Chambliss in 2014 was Herman Cain.  Cain ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 but lost.  He became famous for his constant sayings of 9-9-9, his sexual harassment charges, and his fantastic taste in hats.  If Cain runs in the primary, you can expect an expensive and long Republican primary which might end up helping the Democrats more than you would think.  A dark-horse candidate for the Senate primary race, if not the Senate seat, is Allen West.  West lost his Congressional district in the 2012 election, but Georgia Republicans reportedly said they would welcome West with open arms.  West returning to run for Senate could make the primary seat turn to the right even more.  A move Democrats are hoping for.

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