Saxby Chambliss

Saxby Chambliss
Clarence Saxby Chambliss, Jr.
United States Senator
from Georgia
Assumed office
January 3, 2003
Serving with Johnny Isakson
Preceded by Max Cleland
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 8th district
In office
January 3, 1995 – January 3, 2003
Preceded by J. Roy Rowland
Succeeded by Mac Collins[1]
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry
In office
January 3, 2005 – January 3, 2007
Preceded by Thad Cochran
Succeeded by Tom Harkin
Personal details
Born November 10, 1943 (1943-11-10) (age 68)
Warrenton, North Carolina
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Julianne Chambliss
Residence Moultrie, Georgia
Alma mater Louisiana Tech University
University of Georgia (B.B.A.)
University of Tennessee (J.D.)
Occupation Lawyer
Religion Episcopalian
Website Senator Saxby Chambliss

Clarence Saxby Chambliss, Jr. (born November 10, 1943) is the senior United States Senator from Georgia. A member of the Republican Party, he previously served as a U.S. Representative (1995–2003).

Born in Warrenton, North Carolina, Chambliss attended Louisiana Tech University and the University of Georgia. He received his law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1968. He was elected to the United States House of Representatives in the 1994 Republican Revolution, representing the heavily Democratic Macon-based 8th District. During his four terms in the House, Chambliss served on the United States House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and chaired the House Intelligence Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security, which oversaw investigations of the intelligence community after the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001.

When redistricting threatened his House seat in 2002, he announced a run for the U.S. Senate. He focused on the issue of national defense and homeland security during his campaign, and won with 53 percent of the vote. For several years he was the ranking Republican on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, and chaired the committee during the 109th Congress (2005–2007). In the 112th Congress (2011–2012) he is the ranking Republican on the Select Committee on Intelligence. He has a conservative voting record in the Senate, although he has participated in some bipartisan legislation.


Early life, education, and family

Chambliss, the son of an Episcopalian minister,[2] was born in Warrenton, North Carolina. He graduated from C.E. Byrd High School in Shreveport, Louisiana, in 1961. He attended Louisiana Tech University from 1961–1962 and earned a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the University of Georgia in 1966, working his way through college at a bakery in Athens.[2] He received his Juris Doctor from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1968. He is a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity.

During the Vietnam War, Chambliss received student deferments and was also given a medical deferment (1-Y) for bad knees due to a football injury.[3]

Chambliss is a member of St. John's Episcopal Church in Moultrie, Georgia. He married Julianne Frohbert in 1966 and they have two children and four grandchildren.

Chambliss's son Bo is a registered lobbyist for the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and lobbies on commodity futures trading issues that fall under legislative jurisdiction of the Senate Agriculture Committee, of which the Senator is a member. The Senator's office enacted a policy that prevents Bo from lobbying the Senator or his staff.[4]

House of Representatives, 1995–2003

Chambliss was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994 as one of the new conservative Republican congressmen whose elections caused the party to gain a majority in both houses of Congress. A long-time Congressman and fellow Georgian, Newt Gingrich, was the leader of the movement, and Chambliss and the other Republicans elected that year are known as the Class of '94.

Chambliss was elected from the Macon-based 8th District, after six-term incumbent J. Roy Rowland retired. He was elected with 63% of the vote—an unexpectedly large margin since the 8th had never elected a Republican. He faced a tough re-election fight in 1996 against Macon attorney Jim Wiggins, but breezed to reelection in 1998 and 2000.

During his four terms in the House, Chambliss served on the United States House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and chaired the House Intelligence Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security.

Less than a month after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the House Intelligence Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security, which Chambliss chaired, investigated intelligence issues related to the attacks. The committee's investigation resulted in the first comprehensive report detailing critical shortfalls within the United States intelligence community's performance and technological capabilities.[5]

Chambliss was criticized for remarks he made during a November 19, 2001 meeting with first responders in Valdosta, Georgia, where he said that homeland security would be improved by turning the sheriff loose to "arrest every Muslim that crosses the state line." Chambliss apologized for the remarks.[6]

In 2006, Chambliss was among several congressional Republicans and Democrats who returned campaign donations from Jack Abramoff.[7]

Senate, 2003–present

Committee assignments

According to the Congressional Research Service, Sen. Chambliss is the only senator since 1947 to have chaired a full standing Senate Committee (Agriculture) after serving in the Senate for just two years.[citation needed]

Caucus memberships

  • Congressional Fire Services Caucus
  • Congressional Sportsmen Foundation
  • Juvenile Diabetes Caucus
  • National Guard Caucus
  • Rural Health Caucus
  • Senate Caucus on Military Depots, Arsenals and Ammunition Plants
  • Co-Chair, Senate Reserve Caucus
  • Steering Committee


2002 race

Chambliss ran for the Senate in 2002, facing freshman Democratic incumbent Max Cleland. Chambliss's political career would have likely ended if he hadn't run for the Senate; the state legislature had shifted his home in Moultrie (along with most of the southern portion of his district) to the nearby 1st district, represented by fellow Republican Jack Kingston.

Chambliss focused on the issue of national defense and homeland security during his campaign, and released an ad that included Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, highlighting Cleland's record on the issues of war and terrorism.[8]

Chambliss received criticism from Democrats and Republicans for this ad, pointing out that he, who hadn't served in the Vietnam War due to receiving military deferments, had attacked a Vietnam War veteran who lost three limbs during his service for not being tough enough on issues of war and homeland security. Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona said of one ad, "[I]t's worse than disgraceful, it's reprehensible;" Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska said the ads were "beyond offensive to me."[9] On the other hand, Chambliss supporters say the ad did not question Cleland's patriotism, but rather his judgment.[10][11]

Chambliss won the election, receiving 53 percent of the votes to Cleland's 46 percent.

2008 race

On November 4, 2008, Chambliss received 49.8% of the vote, while Democratic challenger Jim Martin received 46.8% and Libertarian Allen Buckley received 3.4% of the vote.[12]

Since no candidate exceeded 50% of the vote, a runoff election between Chambliss and Martin was held on December 2, 2008.

Chambliss defeated Martin 57.5% to 42.5% in the runoff election.[13][14]

Imperial Sugar

During the run-off period, Chambliss received a subpoena regarding the investigation of a lawsuit against Imperial Sugar that claims that Imperial "wrongfully" failed to remove hazards that caused the disaster of a Savannah-based sugar refinery that exploded on February 7, 2008. Chambliss was accused of "harassing"[15] a former sugar company executive. In a statement, Chambliss said he has referred the matter to Senate lawyers. Chambliss has stated: "I continue to sympathize with the families who were devastated by this tragedy and I will continue to work to protect the interests of those families." Savannah attorney Mark Tate, "an active backer of Democratic candidates," insisted that "there is nothing political" about the timing of the subpoena. When Tate subpoenaed Chambliss to testify in the case, Chambliss claimed "legislative immunity."[16][17][18]

Political positions

Voting Record

Chambliss's voting record is typically that of voting in line with conservative issues.[19][20] He is the primary sponsor in the United States Senate of the tax-reform proposal The Fair Tax Act (S. 1025), attracting more cosponsors than any other fundamental tax reform bill introduced.[citation needed]

Although Chambliss has a conservative voting record, he has participated in bi-partisan legislation—such as the 2007 Farm Bill, the bi-partisan immigration reform (led by John McCain and Ted Kennedy) in 2007[21] and the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.[21] He is also the Republican leader of the Gang of 10, a bipartisan group which has worked to create a compromise surrounding the energy policy of the United States.

Chambliss opposed President Barack Obama's health reform legislation; he voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in December 2009,[22] and he voted against the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.[23]

Interest groups ratings

On abortion issues, the ratings given Chambliss as of 2007 by National Right to Life Committee and NARAL Pro-Choice America identify him as having an anti-abortion voting record. The National Right to Life Committee gave him a 100% rating, while NARAL Pro-Choice America gave him a 0% rating.[24][25]

On 2nd Amendment issues, in 2008, the NRA gave Chambliss an "A+" rating and the NRA also endorsed him.[26][27]

On agricultural issues, the American Farm Bureau gave Chambliss its "Friend of the Farm Bureau" award throughout his service in the U.S. Senate.[28]

On economic issues including voting on the national budget, national spending, and taxes, in 2007, the National Tax Limitation Committee gave Chambliss a 90% rating,[29] and the group Americans for Tax Reform gave him a 100% rating.[30]

On civil liberties and civil rights issues, in 2007, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) gave him a 17% rating,[31] and the NAACP gave him a 27% rating.[32] The Human Rights Campaign gave him a 0% rating for 2005-2006[33] and a 20% rating for 2007-2008.[34]

On education issues, in 2008, the Center for Education Reform, gave Chambliss a score of 9 out of 9, and called him a "real reformer",[35] while the National Education Association gave him an "F" in 2007.[36]

On organized labor issues, in 2007 the AFL-CIO gave Chambliss a 11% rating,[37] and the International Foodservice Distributors Association gave him an 85% rating.[38]

On environmental issues, in 2003 the League of Conservation Voters gave Chambliss a 0% rating.[39]

Electoral history

Georgia's 8th congressional district: Results 1994–2000[40]
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct
1994 Craig Mathis 53,408 37% Saxby Chambliss 89,591 63%
1996 Jim Wiggins 84,506 47% Saxby Chambliss 93,619 53%
1998 Ronald L. Cain 53,079 38% Saxby Chambliss 87,993 62%
2000 Jim Marshall 79,051 41% Saxby Chambliss 113,380 59%
Georgia Senator (Class II): 2002 results[40]
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
2002 Max Cleland 932,422 46% Saxby Chambliss 1,071,352 53% Claude "Sandy" Thomas Libertarian 27,830 1%
2008 Georgia U.S. Senator general election runoff[14]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Saxby Chambliss (incumbent) 1,228,033 57.4%
Democratic Jim Martin 909,923 42.6%
Majority 318,110 14.9%
Turnout 2,137,956

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
J. Roy Rowland
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 8th congressional district

Succeeded by
Mac Collins[1]
United States Senate
Preceded by
Max Cleland
United States Senator (Class 2) from Georgia
Served alongside: Zell Miller, Johnny Isakson
Political offices
Preceded by
Thad Cochran
Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee
Succeeded by
Tom Harkin
Party political offices
Preceded by
Guy Millner
Republican Party nominee for United States Senator from Georgia (Class 2)
2002, 2008
Succeeded by
Most recent
United States order of precedence
Preceded by
Frank Lautenberg
D-New Jersey
United States Senators by seniority
Succeeded by
Lindsey Graham
R-South Carolina


  1. ^ a b In 2002, Georgia was redistricted as per the 2000 Census and some districts were renumbered. Democrat Jim Marshall took the seat in Georgia's 3rd congressional district, which was substantially the same as the old 8th district Chambliss represented.
  2. ^ a b "R. Saxby Chambliss." Biography Resource Center Online. Gale Group, 2002. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2009.
  3. ^ Tom Robbins, "The Sunshine Patriots", Village Voice, August 17, 2004
  4. ^ Democrats target Georgia's Chambliss over son's lobbying — 3/7/06
  5. ^ Rep. Saxby Chambliss: Anti-terrorism measures in the U.S.,, October 2, 2001
  6. ^ Melanie Eversley, "Chambliss apologizes for remark on Muslims", Atlanta Journal-Constitution, November 21, 2001.
  7. ^ Bush, lawmakers returning Abramoff donations, MSNBC, January 5, 2006
  8. ^ Chambliss Ad (Cleland), You Tube, August 2, 2006
  9. ^ Carlson attempted to downplay Republican attacks on Cleland — Media Matters, July 30, 2004
  10. ^ Crowley, Michael (April 2, 2004). "Former Sen. Max Cleland: How the disabled war veteran became the Democrats' mascot". Retrieved 2009-01-23. 
  11. ^ Coulter, Ann (December 31, 2008). "Teaching Democrats New Tricks". Retrieved 2009-01-23. 
  12. ^ "Georgia Election Results". Secretary of State of Georgia. 2008-11-04. Retrieved 2008-11-12. 
  13. ^ "U.S. Senate Election Results". Action News, Atlanta. 2008-12-02. Retrieved 2008-12-02. 
  14. ^ a b "Georgia Election Results". State of Georgia Secretary of State. December 2, 2008. Retrieved 3 December 2008. 
  15. ^ Peterson, Larry (2008-07-31). "Chambliss in sugar furor". Savannah morning news. Retrieved 2008-11-25. 
  16. ^ Peterson, Larry (2008-10-24). "Chambliss subpoenaed in Imperial Sugar case". Savannah morning news. Retrieved 2008-11-25. 
  17. ^ Peterson, Larry (2008-11-16). "Chambliss says he doesn't have to obey order to testify in Imperial Sugar lawsuit". Savannah morning news. Retrieved 2008-11-25. 
  18. ^ ATKINS, MICHAEL (2008-11-20). "Imperial Sugar executive defends Chambliss". Savannah morning news. Retrieved 2008-11-25. 
  19. ^ "American Conservative Union Ratings". Project Vote Smart. 
  20. ^ "Christian Coalition Ratings". Project Vote Smart. 
  21. ^ a b "Scrambling the red states". The Economist. 2008-10-23. Retrieved 2008-10-23. 
  22. ^ [1]
  23. ^ "U.S. Senate: Legislation & Records Home > Votes > Roll Call Vote". Retrieved 2010-08-29. 
  24. ^ "National Right to Life Committee Ratings". Project Vote Smart. 
  25. ^ "NARAL Pro-Choice America Ratings". Project Vote Smart. 
  26. ^ "Friend of Farm Bureau - 109th Congress". American Farm Bureau Federation. 
  27. ^ "Friend of Farm Bureau - 108th Congress". American Farm Bureau Federation. 
  28. ^ "Vote Freedom First". NRA-Political Victory Fund. 
  29. ^ "National Tax Limitation Committee Ratings". Project Vote Smart. 
  30. ^ "Americans for Tax Reform Ratings". Project Vote Smart. 
  31. ^ "American Civil Liberties Union Ratings". Project Vote Smart. 
  32. ^ "National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Ratings". Project Vote Smart. 
  33. ^ "Human Rights Campaign Rating". Project Vote Smart. 
  34. ^ "Human Rights Campaign Rating". Project Vote Smart. 
  35. ^ "US Senate Candidate Scorecard" (PDF). The Center for Education Reform. 
  36. ^ "National Education Association Ratings". Project Vote Smart. 
  37. ^ "AFL-CIO Ratings". Project Vote Smart. 
  38. ^ "International Foodservice Distributors Association Ratings". Project Vote Smart. 
  39. ^ "OnTheIssues Ratings". OnTheIssues. 
  40. ^ a b "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Retrieved 2007-08-08. 

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