The writing was probably on the wall for Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, who just announced that he would not be running for reelection in two years. He was one of the first Republicans to suggest the perhaps the well being of the American economy was worth more than an oath of allegiance to Grover Norquist, and was one of the Senators who voted to accept tax increases to avert the fiscal cliff. This is the South, stronghold of conservative Republicans.
Which is why the Democrats have a surprising chance to pick up a Senate seat in 2014.
...[In a previous post] I suggested that there was a good chance that the Republicans’ enthusiastic attempts to devour their own young was bringing out possible primary challengers for Senator Chambliss. Well, they’re no longer challengers, and the fun is about to start. Sure, Georgia went to Mitt Romney by ten points in the last election. Why, that almost matches the August 13th lead of the Republican Party’s Senate candidate in Missouri. What could go wrong?
"There are already several reports of the potential for a divisive primary that will push Republicans to the extreme right," said Guy Cecil, executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. "Regardless, there's no question that the demographics of the state have changed, and Democrats are gaining strength. This will be a top priority."...
...Chambliss revealed his decision not to seek re-election in a written statement Friday morning.
The senator drew the ire of hard-line conservatives over his participation in the "Gang of Six," a group of three Democrats and three Republicans that tried but failed to fashion a grand compromise on fiscal issues. One of those senators, Democrat Mark Warner of Virginia, praised Chambliss as a statesman on Friday.
Conservative angst resurfaced when Chambliss voted for the tax-and-debt compromise that Obama fashioned with congressional leaders over the New Year's holidays to avoid the fiscal cliff. The measure held taxes steady for the middle class but allowed them to rise at incomes over $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for couples...
..."I have no doubt that had I decided to be a candidate, I would have won re-election," Chambliss said in his statement. "Instead, this is about frustration, both at a lack of leadership from the White House and at the dearth of meaningful action from Congress, especially on issues that are the foundation of our nation's economic health."
National tea party leader and Georgia resident Amy Kremer celebrated Chambliss's departure. "Many people in the tea party movement here in Georgia felt Chambliss was tired and unwilling to fight the difficult battles to control government spending in Washington without increasing our nation's tax burden," she said.
Several Republicans acknowledged the potential of a divisive fight pitting tea party-aligned candidates...
...Georgia Democratic Party Chairman Mike Berlon, meanwhile, said Democrats "want to get the right candidate and line up behind him or her in the next few weeks.