Georgia: Big Guns, Including Clinton, Playing in Race

Posted October 22, 2008 at 6:32pm

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R) and his challenger, former state Rep. Jim Martin (D) got some outside help in their Senate campaigns this week, and an even bigger gun is coming to town on Saturday to aid Martin.

Former President Bill Clinton is scheduled to stump with Martin in Atlanta.

The conservative group Freedom’s Watch launched a new television ad in the state touting Chambliss’ record on taxes while Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) appeared with Martin on Tuesday.

The appearance of outside help on both sides of Georgia’s political divide comes as Martin and Chambliss remain locked in a tight race, with recent polls showing them nearly tied.

Webb — a Vietnam veteran who unseated Sen. George Allen (R) in 2006 — formally endorsed Martin at an event outside the state Capitol Tuesday, where he touted Martin’s service in the military.

According to the Atlanta Journal- Constitution, Freedom’s Watch has decided to spend $197,000 on a pro-Chambliss advertisement on WSB-TV in Atlanta. The ad will run 108 times, according to the paper.

In the ad, an announcer with a thick Southern drawl hails Chambliss’ six-year Senate record on taxes over an “old time” banjo tune, praising his efforts to push lower income and gas taxes. It claims he “even stopped the [alternative minimum tax] increase, an enormous middle-class tax increase.”

Freedom’s Watch, a nonprofit group widely seen as the conservative answer to MoveOn.org, has begun running ads in other states this week as well, including in North Carolina. That ad targets Democratic state Sen. Kay Hagan’s position on taxes, accusing her of voting for 115 tax increases including, the ominous voice-over intones, one on candy.