Bill Shipp has written about prospects for the Democrats in 2008 against Saxby Chambliss. He lists three possible candidates:
– Congressman Jim Marshall: A former Macon mayor, decorated Vietnam War hero and Mercer professor, he recently won re-election against journeyman politician Mac Collins in a very tight race. Keep this in mind: Marshall defeated Collins in a district drawn by Collins’ aides and guaranteed by Republican lawmakers to be Democrat proof.
– Congressman John Barrow: He also survived a full-scale Republican onslaught featuring mountains of money, two visits by President Bush to campaign against him and a custom-made congressional district, also certified to be a Democrat killer.
– Attorney General Thurbert Baker: As an African-American, he would have difficulty winning the Senate seat, but he is well liked by both white and black Georgians. He could serve as a lightning rod to turn out blacks and Hispanics in record numbers to help Democrats win other offices, besides the Senate. Ditto for Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond, the first black ever to win a constitutional office statewide as a non-incumbent. (In other words, he was not appointed by a governor to his job before he ran for it.)
Out of those three…I could see Jim Marshall giving Saxby Chambliss some trouble. I wouldn’t put my money on Marshall though, this state is still trending red. But to his credit, he ran a good race against Mac Collins and the NRCC and has some popularity among Republicans in his district.
I’m not saying that a Democrat can’t win this seat, they just need a candidate with the right appeal. Chambliss has just gotten his approval rating above 50% for the first time in six months and the Democrats will likely be energized as memories of the 2002 race against Max Cleland start to resurface.
Democrats would probably do themselves well to draft Marshall into this race, he at least gives them a shot.