mercredi 3 décembre 2008

Premier échec électoral pour Barack Obama

Le sénateur Saxy Chambliss en compagnie de son petit-fils salue ses partisans 
après l'annonce des résultats.

La prédiction que nous avions faite se confirme : le président élu et nouveau messie Barack Hussein Obama (BHO) a subi un premier désastre électoral en Géorgie hier mardi 2 décembre. Décidément, le soleil d'Austerlitz ne brillait pas pour lui.

Le candidat républicain au sénat Saxy Chambliss a écrasé son adversaire démocrate Jim Martin par un spectaculaire 57% contre 43%.

Certes, le vainqueur disposait d'une traditionnelle majorité de droite qui n'avait été mise en péril au premier tour que par une massive mobilisation de l'électoral noir et par un candidat libertarien qui lui avait pris une partie de ses voix.

Dans le contrecoup de l'élection de BHO et de sa majorité écrasante au sénat, les démocrates avaient besoin de gagner en Géorgie pour empêcher le Parti républicain d'atteindre le nombre de sièges nécessaires à une bonne guérilla parlementaire contre les démocrates.

C'est pourquoi les poids lourds du Parti démocrate se sont déplacés pour venir en aide à leur poulain tandis que du côté républicain, des volontaires venus de 43 Etats se sont mobilisés et que la très populaire Sarah Palin est venue en tournée de soutien galvaniser la droite géorgienne.

Mathématiquement, le candidat démocrate n'avait aucune chance de l'emporter. Mais la force symbolique de cette victoire républicaine est grande. 

Voici un article de la presse locale qui rend compte de l'élection.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Republican U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss beat back a prolonged challenge from Democrat Jim Martin on Tuesday to win a second term in office after a bruising four-week runoff between the one-time University of Georgia fraternity brothers.

Chambliss’s double-digit victory dashed Democrats’ dreams of securing a filibuster-proof, 60-vote “super majority” in the Senate and buoyed a Republican Party battered by staggering losses in the Nov. 4 general election.

“Republicans still know how to win an election,” Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan told hundreds of Chambliss supporters at the Cobb Energy Centre.

Chambliss said GOP volunteers from 43 states came to Georgia to assist his runoff bid, licking envelopes, calling voters and knocking on doors to get voters back to the polls.

“You’re the reason this happened,” the 65-year-old Moultrie lawmaker told cheering supporters. “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”

Martin, 63, called Chambliss to concede at 9:45 p.m. and addressed his supporters 15 minutes later at the Park Tavern.

“Tonight the voters of Georgia have spoken,” Martin, an Atlanta attorney, told his supporters. “I accept that decision.”

Anna Beck, 25, of Atlanta, who worked for the Martin campaign as deputy finance director seemed to sense the inevitable after major news organizations began to call the race at 9 p.m.

“I’m sorry for the turnout. I wish it could have been higher. [But] I don’t know what we could have done differently,” Beck said.

Chambliss and Martin — Sigma Chi frat brothers in the 1960s — faced off in a race that became the focus of U.S. politics in wake of the Nov. 4 general election.

Despite the gravity of the race and the media attention focused on the two candidates, turnout appeared to be just over half what it was in the general election.

The Chambliss win was a major save for Republicans, who watched their political fortunes wither on Nov. 4. A Martin victory would have been another setback for the GOP, which threw a small army of its political stars, volunteers and millions of dollars into the race.

Chambliss’s victory means Republicans now will have at least 41 votes in the upper chamber, enough to stop major legislative initiatives by the Democratic majority in the U.S. Congress. Only the senate race in Minnesota, where a recount is ongoing, still must be decided.

During the runoff, Republicans painted Chambliss as a “firewall,” the “last man standing” to prevent what they contend would have been Democratic excesses. Democrats touted Martin as the man who would provide a “bridge” to the change promised by President-elect Barack Obama.

Obama tip-toed into the race, but never became fully involved. He recorded a radio ad for Martin and an automated “robo” call, but declined an invitation to come to Georgia and campaign for his fellow Democrat. Many of his campaign volunteers came to Georgia to help the Martin effort.

Big-name politicos also flocked to the state to stump for the two candidates. Former President Bill Clinton came for Martin as did former Vice President Al Gore. Former GOP presidential nominee and U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) came to the state for Chambliss as did McCain’s running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Keith Miller, 31, volunteered for Chambliss the last two weeks and came to the Cobb Energy Centre for the election results.

“I’ve always identified myself with Saxby and his conservative values — the Fair Tax and he’s pro-life,” said Miller, a mental health counselor who lives near Buford. “Because the Democrats might obtain a filibuster-proof majority I felt an extra urgency.” He volunteered for Chambliss, making phone calls last week.

Saxby Chambliss’ mother, 91-year-old Emma B. Chambliss, was on hand to her son’s victory celebration. She couldn’t vote for him, though. Miss Chambliss moved from Saluda, N.C., to Roswell just two months ago and missed the deadline for voter registration in Georgia.

“No, I didn’t get here in time” she said. “I was disgusted, disgusted,” she said, shaking her head.

Much of the money that poured into Geoergia was spent on a barrage of televised attack ads, which were still being aired as voters headed to the polls.

The Chambliss-Martin runoff was a surprise to many. Chambliss had a strong lead in the polls until the economy tanked in September and the first-term senator backed a controversial $700 billion financial rescue package. Neither Chambliss nor Martin got a majority of vote Nov. 4 in their senate battle with Libertarian Allen Buckley. That set up a runoff between the two top vote-getters.

Both campaigns knew turnout was the key to a win, and both worked hard to get campaign-weary voters to the polls in the aftermath of the Thanksgiving holiday. Both Martin and Chambliss put hundreds of volunteers on the ground to call and visit potential voters and get them to vote.

Chambliss first won election to the Senate in 2002, defeating former Democratic U.S. Sen. Max Cleland. Chambliss had served two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives before that win.

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