Senator seeks retirement instead of re-election
Senator Saxby Chambliss will not be seeking re-election to the Senate for a third term.
Chambliss was first elected to the House in 1994. In 2002, he moved up to the Senate after defeating Democratic incumbent Max Cleland.
Despite career-long GOP loyalty, Chambliss created a stir from tea party Republicans for participating in a bipartisan Senate "Gang of Six", focusing on a way to reduce the budget.
Although no major Republican candidate has announced a challenge to Chambliss, he had the possibility of facing a tough race.
He released this statement Friday afternoon:
"After much contemplation and reflection, I have decided not to run for re-election to the Senate in 2014. This is a decision Julianne and I have thought through and prayed about for many weeks. I am humbled by and grateful for the extraordinary trust of Georgians, who have allowed me to represent them for 20 years in the United States House and Senate. I am proud of my conservative voting record in fulfilling those duties. In 2008, I was honored to receive more votes than any other statewide elected official in the history of Georgia. Lest anyone think this decision is about a primary challenge, I have no doubt that had I decided to be a candidate, I would have won re-election. In these difficult political times, I am fortunate to have actually broadened my support around the state and the nation due to the stances I have taken.
Instead, this is about frustration, both at a lack of leadership from the White House and at the dearth of meaningful action from Congress, especially on issues that are the foundation of our nation's economic health. The debt-ceiling debacle of 2011 and the recent fiscal-cliff vote showed Congress at its worst and, sadly, I don't see the legislative gridlock and partisan posturing improving anytime soon. For our nation to be strong, for our country to prosper, we cannot continue to play politics with the American economy.
I never intended to come to Washington and stay for 20 years. But in that time, I have been proud to fight for the economic good of Georgia and the security of our nation. That includes work on four farm bills, 18 defense-authorization bills, chairmanship of the House Terrorism Subcommittee in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, and being chairman or ranking member of major Senate committees for 8 of the past 10 years.
Perhaps the greatest honor has been to champion our men and women in uniform, their families, and the Georgia military bases and contractors who create private-sector jobs.
I am truly grateful for the love, support, trust and assistance of family and friends who have helped me along the way. I am especially indebted to my staff â" past and present â" whose loyalty and knowledge have not only served me well, but have served the people of Georgia superbly.
There are two years left in my term, and there is lots left to do. I am in good health, and I plan to continue working hard to represent the best interests of Georgians, and to do my utmost to help restore America to its economic greatness."
Long-time friend, Senator Johnny Isakson released the following statement in response to Senator Chambliss' retirement:
"Saxby and I have been friends for 51 years and it has been my honor to serve alongside him in the U.S. House and in the U.S. Senate. We first met when we attended the University of Georgia together in the 1960s, and our wives â" Julianne Chambliss and Dianne Isakson â" happened to be sorority sisters at UGA. I have supported Saxby in every political race he's run, and I'm grateful that he has done the same for me. Saxby is a true statesman who has worked tirelessly throughout his time in public life to represent the values and interests of Georgians. Our state and our country are better because of Saxby Chambliss. I will miss him dearly after 2014, but I look forward to working with him for two more years in the Senate to tackle the tough issues facing our county."