November 21st, 2008
10:20 AM ET
13 years ago

Obama weighs in on Georgia Senate race

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Martin is seeking to unseat Sen. Chambliss."](CNN) - He may not be going there in person, but Barack Obama is lending his voice to the Democrats' efforts to win back a Republican-held senate seat in Georgia.

The President-elect speaks out in a new 60-second radio ad for Jim Martin, the Democratic challenger to freshman Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss. Martin and Chambliss face off in a runoff election on Tuesday, December 2.

Chambliss won a plurality of the vote 17 days ago on Election Day, but Georgia state law calls for the winner to grab 50 percent plus one vote. Due to the inclusion of a third party candidate, Chambliss fell just shy of that threshold, forcing a runoff contest.

In the radio ad, Obama says Martin, a former state lawmaker, will “do everything he can to help me change Washington and get America moving again.” Obama ends the ad with a plea to voters, saying “please join me in supporting Jim Martin for the United States Senate on Tuesday, Dec. 2, and head to the polls just one more time this year.”

Obama's turned more than two dozen field offices over to Martin’s campaign. A number of former Obama campaign workers and volunteers are also now in Georgia working for Martin.

Obama lost Georgia to John McCain, 52 percent to 47 percent. But that five point deficit was much closer than the 17 point defeat in Georgia Senator John Kerry suffered to President George W. Bush in 2004.

A number of big name surrogates have traveled to Georgia to campaign for the candidates. Former President Bill Clinton joined with Jim Martin at a rally in Atlanta Wednesday and former President Al Gore campaigns with Martin this weekend

The former Massachusetts Governor and former Republican presidential candidate teams up today with Saxby Chambliss at campaign events in Atlanta and Savannah.

Romney is the latest former GOP presidential candidate to stump with Chambliss. Last week Sen. John McCain returned to the trail to campaign with Chambliss, just 9 days after losing the presidential election to Obama. On Sunday, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination before dropping out in March and backing McCain, campaigned with Chambliss. Like Huckabee, Romney also ran for the GOP presidential nomination before ending his bid in February and backing McCain.

Both men could make another stab at presidential politics in 2012.

Romney's doing more than just campaigning for Chambliss. A spokesman for Romney earlier this week announced that Romney is contributing $5,000, through his Free and Strong American PAC, to Chambliss to help with the runoff election. Romney's PAC donated $2,300 to Chambliss earlier this fall.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Jim Martin
soundoff (99 Responses)
  1. tom

    i hope and have been praying that we get the magic 60 number in senate so the democrats can get things done and dont need the old out of date republicans for anything.

    November 21, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  2. Matt

    Get rid of Chambliss. He represents the racist old-boys-network of GA. Show some self-respect GA by moving into the 21st century with the rest of us.

    November 21, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  3. Matt

    I've got some ideas about where the Stormin' Mormon can shove that money.

    November 21, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  4. mitch

    i'm so disappointed in these cabinet picks, who cares about georgia? buyer's remorse is setting in.

    November 21, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  5. Noah

    It won;t work. Georgia voted for the more qualified Presidential nominee, John McCain and they will vote for the more qualified Senatorial candidate, Saxby Chambliss. You will not get your super majority Liberals. You will only be able to do moderate damage instead of full-scale damage.

    November 21, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  6. katiec

    From what I have read about Chambliss, he is among the
    republicans that try, and some have succeeded, to win an election
    with sleeze. Mccain, hisself, before he followed the same
    method, criticized Chambliss for his tactics.
    The American people do not need people that lack honor,
    integrity, making decisions about the future of our country.
    We do not need more of the republican corrupted leadership.
    We cannot survive politics as usual.

    November 21, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  7. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    Obama's riding a wave. Cowabunga, dude, cowabunga!

    November 21, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  8. S. Boatman Warrensburg Mo.

    Georgia. . . With Your Help We Can Get To That Magic 60 And See Some Real Change! Republicans Dont Know How To Govern But They Do Know How To Fillibuster! Dont Let Then Stand Up There And Talk About Nothing For Hours On End Without Offering Any Solutions! Tell Them To Shut Up With Your Vote!

    November 21, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  9. Craig- Easton, PA

    Time to get rid of a guy who smeared a veteran and a hero to get elected.

    November 21, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  10. joy

    Mitch why are you disappointed. He is bringing in people he knows who will come in without being trained and vetted to do the job.

    November 21, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  11. Richard S.

    Not many people listen to the radio. Obama needs to go on Georgia television to really help Jim martin.

    November 21, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  12. GA Independent

    Hoping, hoping that Georgians go do the right thing and dump Chambliss. If you know anyone in GA – call them, remind them of how sleazy Chambliss is – "Those people", the terrible trashing of Max Cleland that even McCain spoke out against, and his refusal to do the right thing for the families of workers killed in a sugar plant.

    GA – here's your chance to shine and do the right thing... Vote Martin.

    November 21, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  13. johnlocke3141

    So, CNN, when exactly was Al Gore President??? According to your story, "former President Al Gore campaigns with Martin this weekend".

    November 21, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  14. johnlocke3141

    I voted for Obama, but am having "buyer's remorse" because so far all he has done is go back on his promises and select "politics as usual" as his cabinet. (And he's not even inaugarated yet)

    It makes me very mad that Pres. Elect Obama PROMISED that he would not have lobbyist in the White House, but he has already hired hundreds of lobbyist. All those people inspired by Obama's change message will become cynical once again because he has sold out.

    November 21, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  15. Dave in NYC

    Republicans have obstructed real change in congress by filibustering a record number of bills over the last 2 years.

    Its time to get the obstructionists out of the way so we can really change America for the better and undue the damage of 8 years of republican rule.

    November 21, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  16. Kevin

    Chambliss came out ahead, and just feel short of the 50%. Pray that Georgians do the right thing and send him back to the Senate to prevent a filibuster-proof Senate majority. The only thing worse than an Obama rubber stamp on Pelosi and Read is the loyal opposition's inability to properly debate .... and filibuster if necessary....matters in the Senate. We're already in deep deep trouble the next four years with Obama-Pelosi-Read and the return of the Clintonistas....let's hope it doesnt get worse.

    November 21, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  17. thomas

    Q. When is an election not an election? A. When it's held in Georgia or Florida.

    November 21, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  18. Lisa, Saugus MA


    I agree with mitch....I am having buyer's remorse. If Obama's idea of the future is the 90's than he's driving backward.

    Where are the fresh new faces...the outside of Washington. These choices are all insiders, lobbyists, etc.

    Change I can believe in.....I don't Believe it!!!

    November 21, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  19. Vote JIM MARTIN

    Even though it's a long shot I hope Saxby gets to retire his senate seat for the sake of all of us in georgia! He's just not the right man for the job anymore. We someone who will work with our President, not against him. The Georgia republicans are still sore about the slam-dunk in the presidential election, so I'm sure they're just bitter enough to show up in droves to pick up the crumbs...

    November 21, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  20. Madison, NY

    The O man speaks–I love it.

    November 21, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  21. Robert Crowley

    To Noah, even if we get within one or two of a majority there are enough Moderate Republicans who will vote with the Dems.

    They have seen the light and no what they need to do. Have you not seen the latest reports showing overall how the Republican Party is now rated lower than in any previous times when polls like these where taken. Deal with it. The Republican Party is still living in the distant past.

    November 21, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  22. happy thanksgiving

    georgia vote jim martin, chambliss says he don't know what recession means. he has his head in the sand, he wants to pretend the economy isn't that bad, he helped create the mess we are in. vote dec. 2, 2008 for jim martin.

    November 21, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  23. karen-phoenix

    Get rid Chambliss! He's part of the old, negative, nasty GOP guard and they ALL NEED TO GO!!! And this from a former 40 year long republican who is completly disgusted and ashamed of the GOP!!
    Bring back IKE!!!

    November 21, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  24. Alan

    "Not many people listen to the radio. Obama needs to go on Georgia television to really help Jim martin."

    I hope you aren't watching television while you drive, Richard S.

    November 21, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  25. Wrong Change

    I can't believe Obama, who I voted for as the first black president has already renigged on his promises before he even takes office. He said time after time that he would not be bought by the lobbyists or allow them in the white house, but he has already hired many to work for him.

    With "Change" like this, our country is truly doomed.

    November 21, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
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