Saxby Chambliss calls it quits

Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) has announced he will not run for re-election next year, making this his second and final term in the office.  The Associated Press reports that he’s got a bad case of the gridlock blues:

Chambliss, 69, rejected suggestions he couldn’t have survived a likely GOP primary fight with the tea party, insisting he has a proud conservative record and noting he received more votes than any other statewide official in Georgia history in 2008.

Instead, he cited his frustration with both Democratic President Barack Obama and the lack of meaningful legislation in Congress.

“The debt-ceiling debacle of 2011 and the recent fiscal-cliff vote showed Congress at its worst, and sadly, I don’t see the legislative gridlock and partisan posturing improving anytime soon,” Chambliss said. “For our nation to be strong, for our country to prosper, we cannot continue to play politics with the American economy.

His Tea Party cage match would have come as a result of his support for tax increases as part of a deficit reduction deal, combined as usual with spending cuts that would never happen.  This dedication to the “Charlie Brown and the football” school of deficit reduction earned him the unflattering nickname “Taxby” Chambliss, and softened his support enough to draw nearly a dozen potential challengers, even though Chambliss has a generally conservative voting record.  (In fact, he’s a longtime advocate of the “Fair Tax,” which would replace most of the massive U.S. tax code with a national sales tax.)

Early speculation that 2012 presidential candidate Herman Cain would run for Chambliss’ seat was quickly scotched this morning, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitutionbut it is said that Newt Gingrich might still be interested.  Other possible candidates mentioned by the AJC include congressmen Paul Broun, Tom Price, Phil Gingrey, and Tom Graves, plus state Senator Ross Tolleson.  And of course the Democrats will be interested in taking a serious run at the seat, now that it’s open.