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Jan 25, 2013 Comments Off Chuck Biscuits

Excerpted from The Atalanta Journal Constitution: U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss will announce this morning that he’s dropping plans to run for a third term in 2014, a decision certain to set off an avalanche of Republican candidates who will seek to replace him.

Word out of Washington is that Chambliss broke the news to his senior staff this morning.

At least two GOP House members from Georgia, Paul Broun of Athens and Tom Price of Roswell, have been contemplating primary challenges to Chambliss, who has been criticized for leading the bipartisan “Gang of Six” effort to broker a deal to address a $16 trillion federal deficit.

Chambliss and U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., are scheduled to speak Monday on fiscal negotiations at the University of Georgia.

Both Chambliss and U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson had voted this month for the Senate-negotiated deal that avoided the “fiscal cliff” imposed by a 2011 fight over the federal debt ceiling. All Republican House members from Georgia voted against it.

More members of Congress – including Phil Gingrey of Roswell and Tom Graves of Ranger – are certain to consider the race now that it lacks an incumbent. In the state Capitol, one name has already popped up — that of state Sen. Ross Tolleson, a Republican who hails from former U.S. senator Sam Nunn’s home town of Perry.

On the Democratic side, U.S. Rep. John Barrow of Augusta has said he wasn’t interested in challenging Chambliss. Whether or not that disinterest applies to an open seat may be another matter.

Chambliss had offered a hint that he was wavering earlier this month. From a quote in a column written by my AJC colleague Kyle Wingfield, who had asked him if the curdled atmosphere in Washington made him think twice about :

“This is an eight-year decision for me. It’s two years [campaigning] plus six years” in office, he said. “And if I thought the next eight years were going to be filled with contentious debates and the wrong way to govern that we have just gone through in the last two months, it would have a significant impact on my decision. But yeah, right now my plans are to run.”