Chambliss's double-digit victory dashed Democrats' dreams of securing a filibuster-proof, 60-vote "super majority" in the Senate and buoyed a Republican Party battered by staggering losses in the Nov. 4 general election.The size of the victory (a margin of more than 300,000 votes) is important as a warning to Democrats going forward that the GOP is still a viable opposition. It is also important that Barack Obama diminished himself by refusing to risk his political capital campaigning for Democrat Jim Martin.
"Republicans still know how to win an election," Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan told hundreds of Chambliss supporters at the Cobb Energy Centre.
I've added an analysis of the vote here. Also, Michelle Malkin responds to my defense of Chambliss' immigration record: "[T]he guy went wobbly went it mattered most -- and it took massive resistance and vigilance to set him straight." OK, but at least he responded to the outcry, whereas Maverick did not.
PREVIOUSLY: Associated Press and New York Times call it for Chambliss. With 93% reporting at 10:15 Chambliss leads 58-42% with a 300,000+ margin. Still 70+ precincts to report in Fulton County and, for some odd reason, only half the precincts in Paulding have reported. I might add an analysis if I can get those numbers.
With 84% of precincts reporting by 9:30 p.m., you've got the makings of a solid victory for Chambliss. The key thing to notice is the Republican's overwhelming majorities in the fast-growing exurban "outer ring" counties. Most of these margins are based on partial reports, but look:
Carroll .........2.2-to-1It looks like Chambliss is cruising to re-election. But I'm disturbed to see Michelle Malkin transmitting misinformation, calling Chambliss a "pro-amnesty Republican." This is false. Chambliss has an A+ rating from NumbersUSA for his opposition to amnesty. Yes, Chambliss supported the bailout, but he's been a solid conservative vote on immigration issues.
UPDATE: Michelle responds by reminding me that Chambliss was booed at the Georgia GOP convention in May 2007 for defending the guest-worker provisions of the bill that was then pending in the Senate. But Chambliss eventually voted against cloture on S.1639, just as he had voted against S.2611.
I remember being shocked by Chambliss' May 2007 defense of the immigration bill, since I knew he'd opposed S.2611. I am under the impression that, between the Atlanta business community and the Beltway echo chamber, Chambliss had gotten the mistaken idea that maybe the "enforcement" bells and whistles on the shamnesty bill would be enough to satisfy the base. Getting booed at the convention apparently sobered him up pretty quick.
New York Times reports low turnout in Atlanta:
At the Atlanta Public Library on Ponce de Leon Ave., where more than 1,600 people voted in the general election, only 400 people had voted by noon today.This is probably good news for Chambliss. Also, Bob Barr has endorsed Chambliss. Will update.
Boosted by Sarah Palin's whirlwind tour, Sen. Saxby Chambliss appears poised to win today's runoff in Georgia. Jim Antle reminds us why the runoff was necessary:
Libertarian Party candidate Allen Buckley . . . received nearly 3.5 percent of the vote, running almost 100,000 votes ahead of Libertarian presidential nominee Bob Barr . . ."Libertarian populism," anyone?
Many of those voters were fiscal conservatives upset with Chambliss's vote for the $700 billion Wall Street bailout -- or, as he prefers to describe it, "the financial rescue package."
"It's for the people, by the people," an anti-bailout conservative told the Politico in late October. "I think that 99 percent of the phone calls that Saxby got were for him to vote against the bailout, yet he did it anyway. He's supposed to represent the people of the state of Georgia.… By far, the vast majority did not want the bailout."
(Hey, who is Bryan Caplan, and why is he stealing my title without credit?)