02 December 2008 ~ 0 Comments

Republicans win crucial Georgia Senate seat

ATLANTA (Reuters) – Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss won a run-off election in Georgia on Tuesday, CNN said, denying Democrats the chance for a 60-seat “super majority” in the Senate that would have enabled them to pass legislation virtually at will.

Chambliss, an incumbent who first won his U.S. Senate seat in 2002, defeated Democrat Jim Martin for the seat in a race that gained national significance because Democrats and their independent allies held 58 of the 100 seats in the U.S. Senate after the November 4 election.

One seat in Minnesota, subject to a recount because the vote count was so close, remains undecided.

A 60-seat majority would enable Democrats to overcome procedural hurdles set up by Republicans, who are the minority in the Senate. Such a majority would have been particularly potent with a Democratic president, Barack Obama, in the White House.

Chambliss gained more votes on November 4, but fell short of the 50 percent-plus majority required by Georgia law. His victory surprised few in Georgia, a southern state in the most conservative part of the country that backed Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain over Obama in the presidential election.

Both candidates attracted national political figures in campaigning for the run-off. Former President Bill Clinton campaigned for Martin and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who was McCain’s vice presidential candidate, held rallies for Chambliss.

(Reporting by Karen Jacobs; writing by Matthew Bigg, editing by Patricia Zengerle)