Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Chambliss Wins Senate Runoff

Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss was reelected to a second term tonight, winning a decisive 59 percent majority of the vote. The results in Georgia dash Democratic hopes for a filibuster-proof majority (albeit not by much), but it's the implications of the state's voter turnout that is especially striking:

With 81 percent of the state’s precincts reporting in Tuesday’s runoff election, Mr. Chambliss had 59 percent of the vote, and his Democratic challenger, Jim Martin, had 41 percent. The margin was far greater than the three percentage points that separated the two men in the Nov. 4 election, when neither got the required 50 percent. Many of the Democrats who turned out last month in enthusiastic support of Barack Obama apparently did not show up at the polls on Tuesday.

“For a lot of African-American voters, the real election was last month,” said Merle Black, an expert in Southern politics at Emory University. “The importance of electing the first African-American president in history generated enormous enthusiasm. Everything else was anticlimactic.”

Polling stations across Georgia reported low-to-moderate voter turnout. At the Atlanta Public Library on Ponce de Leon Avenue, where more than 1,600 people voted in the general election, only 400 people had voted by noon. Only 9.2 percent of registered Georgians cast early votes in the runoff, compared with 36 percent in the general election.
Georgia is a solid Republican state in a more routine electoral environment, so it'll be interesting to see if historic trends for losses for the president's party in congressional elections hold up for 2010. That possibility is more important than the razor-thin minority that may be able to sustain a filibuster in the 211th Congress.


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Anonymous said...

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