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I'm working on a diary right now about Senator Jeff Merkley's (D. OR) call for filibuster reform and that will be a real diary.  I plan to finish it and publish it later today.  But right now, I figured you all might appreciate some Wednesday afternoon comedy:


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Conservative blogger Erick Erickson may mount a primary challenge against Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), he said on his radio show last night.

Erickson, the founder of RedState.com and a CNN contributor, told listeners that he’d been approached about a campaign and would give it “prayerful consideration.” - Washington Post, 11/28/12

Erickson is challenging Chambliss because Chambliss sort of broke his no tax pledge with Grover Norquist as you all know:


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Last week, Chambliss drew attention when said he was willing to buck Norquist’s pledge. “I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge,” Chambliss told WMAZ-TV of Macon, Ga. “If we do it his way then we’ll continue in debt, and I just have a disagreement with him about that.” - Washington Post, 11/25/12

Of course when Grover and his minions heard Chambliss' remarks, it made them very upset.  This lead to a growing call for a primary challenge to Chambliss.  Once that call was made, Chambliss backed down via Twitter:

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Here's Erickson's statement about a possible run:


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"I had been rather dismissive of it, but in the past two days have been approached by several organizations and individuals I greatly respect who have asked me to really consider it," Erickson, also a CNN political contributor, said Tuesday. "I owe them that and will consider it, but am not prepared to commit to it. I have plenty of time to think about it." - CNN, 11/28/12

It's only been a few weeks after the election and already the Tea Party right wing nuts are ready to eat their own.  The Club For Growth has already targeted Senator Lindsey Graham (R. SC) and they quickly denounced Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito's (R. WV) run for U.S. Senate in West Virginia shortly after making her announcement.  We'll have to wait and see how successful to radical right-wing groups the Club For Growth will  be in defeating Graham and Capito but Chambliss has become the number one target and will most likely be the Republican incumbent Senator to loose his seat:


“Whether it is me or someone else, conservatives should make beating Saxby Chambliss their chief cause in primary season 2014,” Erickson said. - Salon, 11/28/12
Erick Erickson was was elected to the Macon City Council in 2007 but left after six months to pursue his career in Atlanta talk radio.  Erickson is not the serious candidate to take out Chambliss.  I'm putting my money on former Secretary Of State and V.P. of the Komen Foundation, Karen Handel.  

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Handel would be the better candidate for us because she is hated by the party establishment, especially from Governor Nathan Deal (R. GA).  Handel challenged in the 2010 GOP Gubernatorial Primary that resulted in an ugly runoff.  Handel was endorsed by Sarah Palin in the primary and ended up losing the runoff.  Handel's run would put both the Georgie GOP in disarray and could hand this seat to the Democrats.  Especially now:


Whoever the Democratic standard-bearer is, and whether 2014 is a year in which a Democrat has a chance, the demographics continue to move in the party’s direction and push Georgia toward tossup territory.

In 2000, non-Hispanic whites made up 62.6 percent of the population. In 2011, non-Hispanic whites made up only 55.5 percent of the Peach State’s population.

In the 2004 presidential election, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., got 41 percent of the vote. In 2012, Barack Obama pulled 45.4 percent. - Roll Call, 11/19/12

This is some encouraging news that should motivate Georgia Democrats to find their ideal candidate.  Blue Dog Democratic Congressman John Barrow and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed's names have been floated but right now, neither one has an interest in the race:

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“Mayor Reed is running for re-election as Mayor of Atlanta in 2013 and if the people give him another four years, he plans to serve his term,” Reed spokeswoman Sonji Jacobs Dade said in a statement.

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Barrow, a white conservative Blue Dog Democrat who won in a heavily Republican district on Election Day, would have an easy time appealing to Republicans. But his aides said he had no interest in a Senate run. - Roll Call, 11/19/12

We still have time to find our ideal candidate but a Chambliss primary loss would be a great gift.

What sucks about being the majority party is you have more seats to defend.  This upcoming election we don't have many pick up opportunities, unless we get lucky and Susan Collins (R. ME) retires or we find a candidate who is strong enough to take out Mitch McConnell (R. KY).  We have some pretty tough races ahead of us, especially in Alaska, North Carolina and South Dakota.  We are also waiting on retirement announcements from guys like Jay Rockefeller (D. WV).  I think Democrats like Max Baucus in Montana and Mary Landrieu in Louisiana can win their races but I think Mark Pryor in Arkansas is the Democrat most likely to lose in 2014.  

If Merkley's filibuster reform passes, there won't be a need to get fixated on 60 seats and we can focus on helping great Democrats like Merkley, Al Franken, Tom and Mark Udall, Jeanne Shaheen, Mark Begich and Tom Harkin win their races.  But I view the Georgia Senate race as covering our losses plus a golden opportunity for us to draft an excellent candidate.  Some who is center left and not a Blue Dog.  Plus Handel's call for Komen to cut Planned Parenthood funding will make abortion a real issue again and we have been successful at electing pro-choice candidates who strongly support immigration reform with former Senators Sam Nunn (D) and Max Cleland (D).  A Democratic candidate who supports immigration reform can get the growing Latino population in Georgia out to the polls in a midterm election.    

All we can do now is sit back and watch what happens.  I don't think there is any scenario where Chambliss can avoid a primary challenge.  He's 2014's Dick Lugar.  Democrats still hate him for what he did to Cleland in 2002 and conservatives were pissed at him in 2008 for voting for the bank bailouts.  Chambliss won is runoff election but his hatred from the right never died.  Handel's a loose cannon.  She'll rally up the extremist section of the base and establishment Republicans might split in half, one half supporting and the other half sitting out the race.  I enjoy beating Republicans on their home turf and this is our moment to show both the country's demographics and ideals are changing and that right-wing extremists aren't welcomed any where.  Especially in a Southern state like Georgia.    

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