Chambliss’ retirement announcement could spark many candidates to run in the 2014 GOP primary for his seat.
The Peach State only voted 46 percent for Barack Obama in 2012, so any shot Democrats have here would be premised on a weak Republican nominee.
In a statement, National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Jerry Moran of Kansas said Chambliss’ retirement doesn’t change “the reality that the Democrats have a very uphill battle to try wresting this seat from Republican hands.”
Still, local and national Democrats are already seriously eyeing the race and making calls.
“Georgia will now offer Democrats one of our best pickup opportunities of the cycle,” Guy Cecil, the executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said in a statement.
“This development gives us the time we need to field an exceptional candidate for the race,” Democratic Party of Georgia Chairman Mike Berlon said in a statement.
The two early top recruits for national Democrats would be Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, a business-friendly city executive with a national profile, and conservative Blue Dog Rep. John Barrow.
Reed was mum on a bid Friday, saying only it was a day to “acknowledge [Chambliss’] many contributions to our state and nation rather than to focus on politics.”
Barrow left open the door to a run but said in a statement: “At this time, I have no plans to run for anything else than re-election in the 12th district.”