Chambliss Says He Won't Seek a Third Senate Term

Jan 25, 2013

Georgia U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss announced Friday he won’t seek re-election for a third term. As recently as November, Chambliss insisted he would run again. In an interview with WABE’s Denis O’Hayer, the Republican senator responded to a comment from Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, who said he wouldn’t run against Chambliss for his Senate seat. 

Chambliss: "I don’t worry about who’s going to run against me or who takes their name out. We’re just going to continue to work with folks like him to do what’s best for Georgia.”

O'Hayer: "But you are still running for re-election?"

Sen. Chambliss speaks to the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce on August 22, 2012.
Credit Denis O'Hayer/WABE News

Chambliss: "Absolutely."

But in a statement, Chambliss cited political gridlock in Congress as one reason for his decision not to run again. Governor Nathan Deal, a fellow Republican who spent 18 years in the U. S. House of Representatives, said he’s sympathetic.

“I understand the frustration he is facing, having been in Congress myself for many years," Deal said, "And I think probably the environment there about getting something done is getting to be more and more difficult every day.”

Chambliss also dismissed speculation that he would’ve had trouble winning against a primary challenger. Although some are starting to guess who might run for Chambliss’ seat, the governor played it safe.

“Certainly, a United States Senate seat is a high-profile position and I feel sure that there’ll be a lot of folks who are interested in it," he said, "But to speculate on who those individuals might I think be would be very, very premature at this point in time.”

The governor said he will not run for Chambliss’ seat. But he admitted he made a request of Chambliss before the announcement.

“I told him to make sure he served out his full term because I didn’t want the responsibility of appointing somebody to replace him if he decided to quit early," the governor said, "He assured me he was going to serve out his full term.”

Chambliss has two more years left in his Senate term. He has spent ten years in the Senate so far. Before that, he spent ten years in the House of Representatives.