Atlanta Journal-Constitution photo
Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss was re-elected to his Senate seat by a whopping 14 points (57-43) over Democratic challenger Jim Martin.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) reports:
During the runoff, Republicans painted Chambliss as a “firewall,” the “last man standing” to prevent what they contend would have been Democratic excesses. Democrats touted Martin as the man who would provide a “bridge” to the change promised by President-elect Barack Obama.
Obama tip-toed into the race, but never became fully involved. He recorded a radio ad for Martin and an automated “robo” call, but declined an invitation to come to Georgia and campaign for his fellow Democrat. Many of his campaign volunteers came to Georgia to help the Martin effort.
Big-name politicos also flocked to the state to stump for the two candidates. Former President Bill Clinton came for Martin as did former Vice President Al Gore. Former GOP presidential nominee and U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) came to the state for Chambliss as did McCain’s running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
Though AJC reporter Jim Tharpe alludes to the importance of Obama's failure to personally campaign for Martin, Tharpe completely misses the importance of Gov. Sarah Palin's last day rallies on behalf of Chambliss.
But, Fox News asked Chambliss about the importance of Palin's participation in rallies for him:
“I can't overstate the impact she had down here,” Chambliss said during an interview Wednesday morning on Fox News.
“When she walks in a room, folks just explode,” he added. “And they really did pack the house everywhere we went. She's a dynamic lady, a great administrator, and I think she's got a great future in the Republican Party.”
Chambliss said that after watching her campaign on his behalf at several events Monday, he does not see her star status diminishing within the party.
A week before the special election, polling showed Chambliss leading Martin by 3 points (50-47). The increase to 14 points in actual voting points to Palin's power to attract young blue-collar voters, a demographic different from traditional Republican voters.