Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss (R) announced this morning he will not run again in 2014.
Through out his tenure, the senator has had a mixture of Conservative and Establishment labels. Recently, though, he’s been branded as part of the establishment faction of the GOP. In 2011, he was part of the “Gang of Six,” the bi-partisan group of senators responsible for the $3.7 billion spending cut deal, automatic across-the-board cuts, including deep and controversial cuts to Education and Defense Programs. The threat of these cuts, though, seems to be in a state of perpetual postponement. As such, Chambliss’ retirement roiled a frenzy of names of conservatives who could fill the spot.
Former Republican Presidential Candidate Herman Cain still seems to be fresh in voter’s minds. Cain, who lost the Presidential Primary, ran against Johnny Isakson in the 2004 Senate Race. Isakson, however, was the victor in that bout. No official mention has been made of a Cain run and an unnamed source suggests that Cain’s radio contract may prevent him from a senate bid. Cain recently replaced former Atlanta Talk Radio Personality Neal Boortz’s spot, who retired this year.
Other names starting to surface in the wake of the announcement include GOP Reps Tom Price, Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey, Tom Graves, and Former Gubernatorial Candidate Karen Handel. One speculator even suggested Freshman Ninth District Rep. Doug Collins as a possibility. Although a Collins run seems unlikely, his ties to the Governor are causing some to stir the name into the mix. A local pundit today suggested the governor is expected to run a state-wide campaign for his endorsed candidate.
A Price or Broun win would seemingly make defeating Obamacare a priority. Both Representatives have been outspoken critics of the legislation, supporting legislation to repeal it. Additionally, both are physicians, giving the two unique insights into the detriment of Obamacare.
Fourteenth District Congressman Tom Graves is one of the Tea Party favorites. A Graves run would give greater momentum to Tea Party principles, with an emphasis on fiscal responsibility, specifically spending cuts and balanced budget amendments.
Conversely, the Democrats will also take a shot at the Chambliss seat. The Party sees it as an opportunity to add another seat to its 55-45 Senate Majority. In a Bloomberg Business Week article today, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Executive Director Guy Cecil said his party will make the Georgia seat a top priority. Georgia, though, remains a thoroughly Red state, where Chambliss’ retirement poses a greater opportunity for Conservatives to wash away the Establishment GOP, than for a Democrat win. As such, the race is wide open for Conservative Republicans.
In a statement today, Governor Nathan Deal lauded the Senator.
"History will remember Sen. Saxby Chambliss as a great Georgia leader and an American statesman; I will remember him as a friend,”