Less than one month after he was elected president, Barack Obama has been dealt a big blow with the re-election of Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss over Democratic challenger Jim Martin in Tuesday’s runoff election in Georgia.
Chambliss’ victory makes him the 41st Republican in the Senate and means that regardless of the outcome of the recount in Minnesota, Obama will not have a filibuster-proof 60-vote majority in the Senate.
And Chambliss has already let it be known that he will oppose Obama on a number of fronts, including taxes and health care.
Obama and the Democrats had funneled massive resources into Georgia, sending more than 100 paid field organizers to the state to campaign for Martin, setting up more than two dozen field offices, and raising some $2.5 million for the runoff.
Democrats also enlisted around 6,200 people across the country to contact likely Democratic voters in the state, a fact Chambliss alluded to in his victory speech when he declared that “this race has been nationalized.”
Obama recorded a radio ad and automated phone calls for Martin, saying in the ad: “Jim supports my plan to cut middle-class taxes, make sure every American has access to affordable health care, stop spending $10 billion a month in Iraq, and get our economy moving again.”
Martin invoked Obama’s name in his ads, saying: “Jim Martin will help Barack Obama cut taxes for the middle class, and get our economy moving again.”
Chambliss declared that Martin is “locked at the hip” with Obama, telling Newsmax that Senate Democrats would promote an “out-of-control left-wing agenda” if they gained a filibuster-proof majority.
In the end, despite the president-elect’s efforts, Georgia voters gave Chambliss a double digit victory and deprived Obama of the filibuster-proof Senate he sought.
And in his victory speech, Chambliss offered an early challenge to several of Obama’s expected moves, saying:
“When he wants to raise your taxes, when he wants to tinker with the Second Amendment, when he makes proposals with respect to health care that are going to take your choice of choosing your doctor away from you, then I’m going to be the 41st Senator to stand up and say no.”
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