Saxby Chambliss vs. Jim Martin – GA Senate Race

Posted by David A. Peterson on 14. November 2008 in Message |

Here I am again ranting about the conservative message, while Georgia is headed for a runoff in the US Senate race. Saxby Chambliss is the incumbent, and he is well liked in the state. Given any other election cycle this race would not have been close.


Senator Chambliss and Jim Martin both ran extremely negative campaigns in the month of October. Both candidates were blasting each other every 30 seconds. It got comical. Nothing of value to a potential voter was presented during this election cycle. We just watched one dumb television ad after another.


But here we are in the state of Georgia where you have to win 50% of the votes to avoid a runoff. Senator Chambliss just missed with 49.8%. On December 2nd we will all (I will use “all” loosely here) head back to the polls to elect a Senator.


Incumbents usually win these things. Jim Martin knows that, Saxby Chambliss knows that as well. So what are the two of them doing now in terms of their message?


Senator Chambliss has brought out the big guns. Senator McCain was here yesterday, Governor Huckabee is on his way. There will be no shortage of big name Republicans in the state over the next few days to help stop the liberal juggernaut.


The Atlanta Journal – Constitution reported that Senator Chambliss “warned that a Democratic supermajority would unleash a rash of liberal initiatives.” The advertisements that Senator Chambliss is running on TV support that theme. Some RNC / 529 group (I don’t know which one) is rerunning the bash Jim Martin ads – over and over again. The Republicans are hitting fast and hard.


Jim Martin on the other hand is running some very soft TV advertisements. He is offering to help the Obama presidency stop the current “gridlock.” He talks about getting things done to “give the middle class” the help they need now.


Notice the messages. Senator Chambliss will continue on his basic Republican path and work to derail the liberal juggernaut, while Jim Martin will help the middle class. Read between the lines: Saxby is talking to the base that will vote for him regardless of the circumstances; Jim is talking to absolutely everybody else.


A couple of weeks ago I thought Senator Chambliss would win big in Georgia. This is still a very conservative state. Now I’m not so sure. He’s got my vote, but conservatives need to realize that the middle class in Georgia is suffering through this recession. If you are going to spew the standard conservative lines you better in the next breath explain how that policy is going to help the middle class get out of this mess – only do this if you plan on getting their vote.


Now if it is the Republican Party’s plan is just trying to make a point instead of winning an election then I recommend that they just stay the course. I’m sure in a couple of years their immediate conservative base will still be intact but I’m not sure if that base can carry a national or even a state election without a little help from a few million other folks.

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