Rep. Ric Keller (R) announced last week that he will break his self-imposed pledge to serve no more than four terms and seek re-election in 2008.
Keller, who won a hotly contested open-seat race in 2000, said it was a mistake for him to make a term-limits pledge during his first campaign. Like many Members who have reversed themselves on term limits before, Keller cited the seniority and experience he has accrued in the House as reasons for staying put.
“I don’t like making mistakes, but I admit that was a big one. As a rookie candidate, I underestimated the value of experience and seniority,” Keller said in a statement. “I will not spend my entire career in Congress, but I will seek re-election in 2008.”
Keller won re-election to a fourth term earlier this month with 53 percent of the vote. His swing 8th district was redrawn after his first contest and made more favorable for the GOP.
— Lauren W. Whittington
Ex-Rival Backs Jefferson
Over Runoff Challenger
State Sen. Derrick Shepherd (D) has thrown his support to Rep. William Jefferson (D) in the Dec. 9 runoff with state Rep. Karen Carter (D). Shepherd finished third in the Nov. 7 all-party primary, and his endorsement was a big win for Jefferson, who must do well in Shepherd’s home base in Jefferson Parish to defeat Carter in the runoff.
Jefferson is the subject of a federal bribery investigation and, while Shepherd often voiced concern over the Congressman’s ethical troubles during the primary, he said those campaign divisions are behind them now.
In a statement released by Jefferson’s campaign, Shepherd said that his record and beliefs on social issues are more in line with Jefferson and that he came to his endorsement decision after listening to his constituents.
“I found a strong opposition to Karen Carter at every level,” Shepherd said. “There is no sense anywhere that she cares about the problems or needs of average folks.”
Several Jefferson Parish officials already have endorsed Carter in the race.
GEORGIA DeKalb CEO May Take On Chambliss
DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones (D) has hinted he is thinking about challenging Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) in 2008.
Jones recently told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he plans to spend some time trying to attract top political talent as he mulls a bid for higher office, although he would not confirm he was specifically looking to run for Senate in two years.
He served eight years in the state Legislature before being elected to his current post in 2000.
While Jones, who is black, describes himself as a conservative, another black Democrat from Atlanta did not fare well in the Peach State’s last Senate contest.
In 2004, then-Rep. Denise Majette (D) gambled on an open-seat Senate run only to be defeated handily by now-Sen. Johnny Isakson (R) after her campaign never really gained traction.
Georgia Democrats have struggled to regain their footing since being ousted from power in the gubernatorial, legislative and Senate elections in 2002.
Chambliss’ biggest re-election threat would appear to be Rep. Jim Marshall (D), who has indicated an interest in running against the first-term Senator.
Fattah Enters Race to Be Mayor of Philadelphia