Amid a tightening campaign less than two weeks from Election Day, Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Jim Martin predicted he’ll defeat incumbent Sen. Saxby Chambliss.
“(Georgia voters) are showing up in record numbers across the state, demanding change and wanting somebody who is going to stand up for their interests,” Mr. Martin told an editorial board at the Times Free Press on Wednesday.
“I think we’ll win,” he said about the candidacy pundits once called a long shot. “I think it will be by a very narrow margin. And I believe there is a real possibility that Sen. (Barack) Obama will win Georgia.”
Mr. Martin blasted the Chambliss ad campaign as “irresponsible” personal attacks like those used six years ago on Sen. Max Cleland. TV spots accuse the Democrat of voting himself a pay raise while raising taxes and getting fired as Georgia commissioner of the Department of Human Services.
“All my ads been comparative, talking about how he has voted and where I stand on those issues and the differences we have,” Mr. Martin said.
In response, Sen. Chambliss fired back via e-mail Wednesday with more attacks.
“Georgians know they just can’t trust Jim Martin. He has lied about the Fair Tax, lied about Democratic opposition to regulating the subprime mortgage industry that pushed us into this economic crisis, and misled Georgians about my record in Congress,” Sen. Chambliss wrote in an e-mail.
He called it “simplistic, liberal rhetoric” his challenger takes “straight from the Democratic playbook of Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi.”
Mr. Martin said the record shows he is not a liar: He had no control over the Fair Tax ad paid for by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee; he resigned as commissioner before Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue replaced him and had taken no salary; and his vote to increase taxes was 20 years ago to help public schools.
Mr. Martin said the gains recent polls show for his candidacy are due to presenting to the voters his record of public service.
“I’ve been in public life for 35 years, in the military and in the Georgia Legislature for 18 years,” he said. “I’m fortunate to have a record on standing up for the working middle class.”
If elected, he said he’ll work to amend the recent bail out package Sen. Chambliss voted for to include important regulations to prevent another market collapse.