In a post back in late November 2012 I made reference to whether Ga. Senator Saxby Chambliss would seek re-election(h/t to Pollitics Today). Well, apparently seeing that the chances of a Tea Party-backed Republican primary well more than likely, Chambliss has decided to say to Georgia the political equivalent of “Screw this, I’m outta here” and has announced plans to retire in 2014.
So, what does this means? Well, several things, for starters:
- While Georgia is a somewhat reliably red state, Democrats have managed to win congressional & statewide elections over the past 10-15 years; Roy Barnes was governor from 1999-2003 and John Barrow has managed to hold off GOP attacks for the better part of a decade now. Don’t be surprised if DSCC Chairman Sen. Michael Bennet doesn’t seriously put some thought into making a good-faith effort at winning this seat in 2014
- Expect both sides to have lively primary campaigns, especially on the GOP side where there seems to be no shortage of
craziespossible candidates: Rep. Tom Price(Ga. 06), Rep. Lynn Westmoreland(Ga. 03), Rep. Austin Scott(Ga. 08), Rep. Paul Broun(Ga. 10). There is one possible candidate who scares me if he runs and that would be Rep. Jack Kingston, who represents Georgia’s 1st Congressional District. He’s conservative but not Tea Party-conservative and he has 20 yrs. of congressional experience, which would help him seniority-wise were he to run and win in 2014. Now, do I think Kingston will run? Odds are probably no…but keep him in the back of your mind for future reference just in case.
- On the Democratic side…four names come to mind off the top of my head: Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, former Rep. Jim Marshall, current Rep. John Barrow and former Gov. Roy Barnes. Of these, Barrow has all-but-announced he will not run for Chambliss’s seat(though now with Chambliss retiring…) and Roy Barnes still upsets a good chunk of Georgia voters for daring to remove the Confederate battle flag from the Georgia state flag(…remind me to tell you how I feel about that infernal symbol sometime…). That leaves Kasim Reed and Jim Marshall and I’m going to go out on a limb here: I’m not entirely convinced that, given the right circumstances, Kasim Reed couldn’t become the state’s next senator instead of Jim Marshall, though the pragmatist in me would rather go with Marshall, I wouldn’t actually mind seeing Reed be the Democratic standard-bearer.
All-in-all, this seat just moved up a whole helluva lot higher on the list of swing seats come 2014.