Jim Martin Is Running For U.S. Senate

Insider Advantage broke the story.

Former state Rep. Jim Martin, his party’s candidate for lieutenant governor in 2006, is now in the U.S. Senate race. Martin formally announced Wednesday, just hours before the man he hopes to challenge – Saxby Chambliss – was planning a big to-do of his own in the Capitol with Johnny Isakson, Gov. Sonny Perdue and other officials.

[Source: 3/19/2008 Insider Advantage article “Jim Martin Is In The Race To Challenge Saxby”]

With Jim Martin in the race, I think the Democratic field is now broken down into three tiers:

Tier 1: Jim Martin, Vernon Jones

Tier 2: Rand Knight, Dale Cardwell, Josh Lanier

Tier 3: Maggie Martinez

Also, I don’t believe there is a front-runner and that there will be a run-off.

Jim Martin’s website is www.martinforsenate.com


  1. Roy says:

    I didn’t vote for Martin for Lt. Gov. but I do think he’s a man of great integrity. Out of all the dems vying for this spot I think he’d be best choice.

  2. Rogue109 says:

    Plan on the Virginia-Highlands in Atlanta to be covered in Martin signs within the hour as his neighbors spread the word…

  3. juliobarrios says:

    It’s going to be an interesting race – no more talk of crossovers in the 10th congressional.

    I think Martin will be far more formidable in the General, but he’s still got to get by Vernon and the majority black vote in the Dem primary.

  4. juliobarrios says:

    Martin is a man of great integrity; albeit a very liberal man of great integrity. He ran a class race for LG, but I’ve read the articles about the Dem leadership telling him no more mister nice guy.

    I know he’s met with Schumer, who could easily pump 1 or 2 million in the race just to screw with Saxby. I just wonder what concessions and assurances he’s made to Schumer – a take no prisoners and win at all costs type of guy.

  5. IndyInjun says:

    Saxby is more vulnerable from the right.

    The people are very, very angry this year and Saxby is a poster boy for the GOP status quo, all of whom are as conservative as Cynthia McKinney.

  6. AubieTurtle says:

    Since this will be voted on statewide, Martin has a better chance than Jones. Much better name recognition, positive name association, and very few outside of DeKalb County’s sphere of influence owe anything to Jones. Vernon may wallop Martin in DeKalb and parts of Fulton and Gwinnett, but beyond that, I don’t see him stacking up very favorably with the rest of the state.

  7. juliobarrios says:

    I think Martin definitely has a better chance than Jones in the General, but not so sure about the Primary.

  8. AubieTurtle says:

    According to the AJC, people are accusing Rep. Chambers of being opposed the Dunwoody cityhood bill because she’s having an Vernon Jones.

    Jill and Snuggles. I just don’t see it but then again, who saw Flavor Flav and Brigitte Nielsen getting together. I swear, this state sometimes is as weird as ‘The Surreal Life’.

    Even with the crazy rumor aside, the vote on cityhood for Dunwoody is sure to bring plenty of negative press to Vernon Jones and his management of DeKalb County.

  9. AubieTurtle says:

    Make that “having an affair with Vernon Jones”. I don’t know where the extra words went. Perhaps they ran off to start their own campaign for the Senate.

  10. sunkawakan says:

    Not sure I’d put Vernon in the top tier. Check out his political contributions on the FEC web site.

  11. Goldwater Conservative says:


    There is no second tier. Jim Martin is a top tier candidate…until you compare his politic success to Saxby. All of the rest are third teir.

    Be obective about these things, Andre. What makes Lanier, Cardwell and Knight Second tier? What makes Jones top tier? None of them are good fundraisers and none of them can get their message out to the electorate.

    Martin can, but it will not really matter. Statewide, GA votes (R).

  12. juliobarrios says:

    I agree with Andre and his tier assessments.

    Although it’s interesting in that Vernon seems to be employing the same strategy Bill Byrne took in running for Governor against Sonny in the Primary. Byrne was Chairman of Cobb County, one of the most republican counties in the state, and assumedly a great springboard for any statewide GOP primary. Sonny managed to win that primary without a runoff, so it takes a little more than name ID in Cobb county to win a GOP primary statewide.

    I still think you’ve got to take Vernon seriously. A chairman of the the most Democrat county in the state. A well known black politician in a state where more than 50% of Dem primary voters are black. Does anyone seriously believe the reason Obama is winning more than 80% of the black over Clinton is simply because that demographic is more inline with him ideologically.

  13. Goldwater Conservative says:

    If I adjusted the idea of “tier” assignments to this race (rather than doing the responsible thing and have a standard system to compare all candidates for similar races nationwide) than Jones would make the second tier.

    I would estimate that Jim Martin will raise twice as much money as Vernon has by the end of April. Whether Vernon courts the black vote is questionable. The obama factor was a phenomenon and too many non-professional observers like to attach all democratic primary campaigners (particularly Af. Americans) to that phenomenon. Well, Obama ran differently. Rather than courting the delegation and the elites, he held rallies with the people. Same thing in the Mississippi delta for that primary just a week ago. Not everything will be defined by race…it may have a significant impact, but it is not causality.

    Chances are, most African American voters in the primary will not know who Vernon Jones is. A percentage in ATL will, but that is it. Jim Martin will probably raise 1.5 – 2 million by July 15th and that will buy him a lot…not to mention he already has some pre-existing name recognition state-wide. The only name recognition Vernon has outside of Atlanta is a criminal association…even if he has never been convicted.

    Furthermore, look at Vernon’s disclosure. Sure he is going to be a “Top Tier” candidate for Andre…andre was paid as a “consultant” by Vernon’s campaign.

  14. juliobarrios says:

    I don’t know if Obama is a black phenomenon or not . Interesting enough, Obama was originally criticized for not being black enough.

    Does anyone here know how many whites represent majority black districts? I know Ashe is in a very urban district, but don’t know if it’s majority black.

    Buckner won the Dem primary for SOS, so I know being black in of itself does not mean you automatically win the primary in GA. The Senate race will be higher profile, and being black sure won’t hurt Vernon.

    If I’m a Dem, I do my best to get Vernon out of the race; he’s a gift to Saxby.

  15. Andre Walker says:

    Goldwater Conservative,

    I would submit to you that I am not the only Democrat who believes that Vernon Jones is in the top-tier among the field of Democrats vying for the Party’s nomination for U.S. Senate.

    Allow me to direct you to the blog that appeared on Tondee’s Tavern yesterday which placed both Jim Martin and Vernon Jones in the top tier (“Senate Campaigns at a Glance – 3/19/08”).

    Finally, I’ll agree with you that Jim Martin will more than likely eclipse the DeKalb County CEO’s fundraising total by the date of the General Primary.

  16. John Sugg says:

    Hey, I hate to spoil the show, but Insider Advantage did NOT break the news about Martin. Here’s what I reported March 10 on Creative Loafing’s Fresh Loaf blog:

    Jim Martin considering U.S. Senate run
    March 10th, 2008 by John F. Sugg

    The Democrats, a big party without many big-name candidates for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Saxby Chambliss, may have found their man: former state representative (for almost two decades), former commissioner of Human Resources (under both Govs. Roy Barnes and Sonny Perdue) and former lieutenant governor candidate Jim Martin.

    Martin is well-liked and well-known around the state. On the other hand, his lite guv race, won by Republican Casey Cagle, wasn’t one that will be studied in future decades as an example of excitement and innovation.

    The Dems have been searching for a candidate after a Zogby poll earlier this year showed Chambliss with remarkably low ratings — in large part because he is so entwined with the disastrous regime of George Bush. The poll showed only 38 percent of those surveyed felt Chambliss deserved another term. In a hypothetical match-up with an unnamed Democrat, Chambliss lost.

    Currently running for Chambliss’ seat as Democrats are DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones; Army veteran and ex-congressional staffer Josh Lanier; and Dale Cardwell, former investigative reporter for WSB-TV/Channel 2. None of those three is seen as a strong candidate. Jones’ personal life and affinity for Republicans raise big questions about his viability. Lanier and Cardwell are political novices.

  17. juliobarrios says:

    “In a hypothetical match-up with an unnamed Democrat, Chambliss lost.”

    That may or may not be true, but the minute you name the Democrat and start talking about Democrat positions they’ll tank against Saxby.

    Georgia is one of the few states where Bush is not unpopular, so was that your own personal or Zogby’s commentary?

    The amazing thing to me is the Dems can’t find a true top tier candidate. Martin is a former State Rep. who never really had a chance against Cagle. I agree Martin is the best hope they’ve got out of the “B” team. Where is Taylor, Cox, Barnes, or Marshall. Can’t believe none of them would want to turn down and easy pickens US Senate seat.

  18. GeorgiaValues says:

    Jim Martin, while a nice man, has an uphill battle…

    1) He has to survive the Democratic primary. Snuggles shows no signs of rolling over and getting out of Martin’s way. He has spent 40K on billboards in South Georgia and has put too much into this race already. He’s in unless he can be bought off.

    2) Martin in an unashamed liberal. While his honesty is refreshing, his pro gay marriage, pro abortion, pro government sponsored universal health care, and other left wing positions leave him little chance in this conservative state.

    3) Martin came out of the gate with a press release announcement (which was overshadowed by Saxby’s statewide flyaround) that generated little coverage.

    4) Martin admitted to a Democratic party audience that he doesn’t know what FISA is (a very hot current topic of debate in Washington), and then called long time African American Republican State Rep. Melvin Everson and asked for his endorsement. His political skills leave much to be desired.

  19. Victoria says:

    re: “4) Martin admitted to a Democratic party audience that he doesn’t know what FISA is”

    I asked him at that meeting “what do you think about giving immunity to telecoms?” and he punted on the answer. As in, I have to have an answer for that if I run for Sentate.

    So, this is a misrepresentation of what he said.

  20. broderick says:

    To answer you question juliobarrios. There several whites representing majority black disrticts. Kathy Ashe is one, also …Karla Drenner,Michele Henson,Margaret Kaiser,Nan Orrock in the Senate just to name a few. Now here is a question, how many blacks represent majority white districts. I hate that blacks are always percieved as the only race that is partiall to some one of there race. Blacks actually have more of a history electing whites to represent them on every level.

  21. bluemcduff says:

    If I were picking the Democrat nominee to run against Chambliss, I’d pick Jim Marshall–sure, he’s holding on to a purple congressional district by his fingernails but I think if he’s given enough support by the Democrat infrastructure he could have a plausible chance of winning.

    I tend to believe that he has crossover appeal that he can further develop and makes him a very formidable candidate.

    Otherwise, I believe the Democrat bench is very thin.

  22. drjay says:

    off the top of my head i believe 2 of the african americans serving in the us house from ga represent nonminority districts and am pretty sure that both the african american gop’s in the ga house represent non minority districts–there are probably others if i poke around–obviously every statewide elected official in ga represents a “nonminority district”-heck almost every statewide elected official in the nation represents a ” nonminority district”

  23. Bill Simon says:


    The majority of the voters for Saxby didn’t vote for him because of his “conservative credentials.”

    They voted for him because he (and, I am quoting here from several Republicans I know) looks like a Senator.

    Don’t the chills just run up and down your spine with THAT kind of decision-making logic in play?

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