WASHINGTON – Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., announced Friday he will not seek a third term next year, saying “this is about frustration” with Washington gridlock that he doesn’t see changing in a divided government.
“After much contemplation and reflection, I have decided not to run for re-election to the Senate in 2014,” Chambliss said.
The lawmaker rejected suggestions he couldn’t have survived a likely GOP primary fight with the tea party, insisting he has a proud conservative record and noting he received more votes than any other statewide official in Georgia history in 2008.
Instead, he cited his dismay with both Democratic President Barack Obama and the lack of meaningful legislation in Congress, especially in addressing the nation’s economic woes.
Chambliss, 69, has been a GOP loyalist for much of his House and Senate career, but he earned the wrath of some in his party for participating in a bipartisan Senate “Gang of Six” intent on finding a way to reduce the deficit. The group advocated a mix of tax increases, anathema to many in the GOP, and spending cuts. But the group failed to reach agreement and produce a bargain.
Although no major Republican candidate had announced a challenge to Chambliss, he was facing the distinct possibility of a tough race. His decision was certain to set off a GOP scramble for the seat.