Republican Senator from Georgia wins run-off election

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Saxby Chambliss

United States Republican incumbent Senator Saxby Chambliss won reelection over Democrat Jim Martin in the state of Georgia in a run-off election on Tuesday, taking 57.5% of the popular vote to Martin's 42.5%. The run-off occurred because neither Martin nor Chambliss received a majority in the general election in November.

"People all around the world truly had their eyes on Georgia, and you have delivered tonight a strong message to the world that conservative Georgian values matter," Saxby Chambliss said in his victory speech. "Now comes the hard work."

"Tonight, the voters of Georgia have spoken," Jim Martin said in his concession speech. "I accept the decision that has been made."

The election was widely watched because a win by Martin would have been crucial for the Democrats to achieve a supermajority in the Senate allowing them to terminate filibusters. Under the rules of the United States Senate, senators can prolong debate indefinitely unless 60 out of the 100 senators vote to close the matter.

Without Martin, the Democrats will have 59 or 58 senators. The exact number depends upon an ongoing recount in Minnesota between Republican incumbent Norm Coleman and Democratic challenger Al Franken.

You have delivered tonight a strong message to the world that conservative Georgia values matter.

—Saxby Chambliss

In the past, filibusters have frequently involved coalitions of senators, and votes to stop filibusters have rarely been precisely along party lines.

The contest between Martin and Chambliss featured heavy involvement by major politicians and celebrities. Former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin campaigned for Chambliss, while former President Bill Clinton and the rapper Ludacris campaigned for Martin.