Maybe we really are all Georgians. Newly elected Democratic Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado sent an e-mail appeal to supporters Thursday asking for contributions to help elect Jim Martin, who is facing incumbent Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia in a Dec. 2 runoff election that could determine whether Democrats reach a filibuster-proof majority.
“Jim Martin is trailing by just 3 points in the latest polls,” Udall wrote, “but he’s up against the same relentless onslaught of attacks that I just faced in my race for Senate.”
If anything, the onslaught is even more relentless, as both parties haul out the big guns to swing the vote in Georgia. On Wednesday, Bill Clinton swooped in to stump for Martin, and Al Gore is scheduled to visit Sunday. Republicans are even busier, with John McCain and Mike Huckabee already logging appearances and more planned from Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani. With Republican Sen. Ted Stevens going down to defeat in Alaska, giving the Democrats a 58-vote majority in the Senate, the magic filibuster-proof threshold of 60 rests on a recount under way in Minnesota and the Georgia runoff.
The state is unique because Senate candidates must pass 50 percent of the vote to win election, and a Libertarian candidate stole just enough from Chambliss and Martin on Nov. 4 to force a runoff. The Republican led with 49.8 percent to the Democrat’s 46 percent. A Rasmussen poll released Wednesday showed Chambliss ahead 50-46 (a slightly greater lead than Udall cited in his fund-raising appeal).
“… I’m committed to making sure we have the votes we need to pass critical legislation on the economy, health care, and renewable energy,” Udall wrote in his e-mail. “But that could all hinge on the outcome of Georgia’s unresolved Senate race.”
Udall pulls out all the stops and plays the Max Cleland card — reminding supporters of the special place Chambliss earned in progressive mythology for tying Cleland to Osama bin Laden:
Jim served in Vietnam, and would be a strong advocate for America’s veterans in the U.S. Senate. Meanwhile, his opponent obtained six deferments to avoid military service, and in 2002 had the gall to run the now infamous television ad using Osama Bin Laden’s image to question the patriotism of former Senator Max Cleland — a triple amputee and decorated Vietnam veteran.
Max is a true American hero, and those ads against him were disgusting. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel called them “beyond offensive,” and John McCain said they were “reprehensible.” But they worked, helping elect Chambliss to the Senate in 2002.
Now Chambliss is at it again, with all too familiar attacks on Jim Martin that exploit the memory of September 11. Only we’re not going to let him get away with it this time.
Help Jim Martin beat back the shameful attacks by making a contribution to his campaign today!