WASHINGTON, JAN. 25, 2013 - U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss officially announced today that he will not run for a third term in 2014. It’s a surprising move - given that he had insisted for months that he planned to run again - but Chambliss cited his frustration with recent political maneuvers that he said showed “Congress at its worst.”

In a statement explaining his decision, Chambliss said: “This is about frustration, both at a lack of leadership from the White House and at the dearth of meaningful action from Congress, especially on issues that are the foundation of our nation’s economic health. 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. For our nation to be strong, for our country to prosper, we cannot continue to play politics with the American economy.”

Chambliss, who serves on the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, is a former chair and ranking member who has long championed southern agricultural interests. He previously served as a U.S. Representative from 1995-2003 and has worked on four farm bills. Chambliss is also the ranking Republican on the Select Committee on Intelligence.

The 69-year-old Georgian downplayed rumors that a potential primary challenge from Tea Party conservatives drove his decision.

“I am proud of my conservative voting record in fulfilling those duties. In 2008, I was honored to receive more votes than any other statewide elected official in the history of Georgia. Lest anyone think this decision is about a primary challenge, I have no doubt that had I decided to be a candidate, I would have won re-election. In these difficult political times, I am fortunate to have actually broadened my support around the state and the nation due to the stances I have taken,” he explained in his statement.

In December 2011, the Washington Post named Saxby and the "Gang of Six" as one of the Best Leaders of 2011 for attempts to craft a bipartisan deficit reduction package. But members of his own party have criticized his willingness to work across the aisle, fueling speculation that he would face a stiff primary challenge. At least two GOP House members from Georgia, Paul Broun of Athens and Tom Price of Roswell, have been contemplating primary challenges to Chambliss, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, which first broke the story that Chambliss planned to retire.

“I never intended to come to Washington and stay for 20 years,” Chambliss added. “But in that time, I have been proud to fight for the economic good of Georgia and the security of our nation. That includes work on four farm bills, 18 defense-authorization bills, chairmanship of the House Terrorism Subcommittee in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, and being chairman or ranking member of major Senate committees for 8 of the past 10 years.




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