Let the Extremist Games Begin!

So for those who enjoy fractious Republican Senate primaries, the bad news is that there won’t be a “RINO hunt” for Saxby Chambliss in Georgia next year, thanks to Chambliss’ decision to hang it up when his term expires. The good news is that an open-seat competition with (potentially) such very loose cannons as Paul Broun, Jr., and Phil Gingrey should be quite the show. And that assessment doesn’t even include the possibility of someone outside the Georgia congressional delegation (Herman Cain has already said he’s not interested, but there’s always Newt!) running an “anti-Washington” campaign to the right even of these zany men.

In reporting the retirement, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution‘s Jim Galloway mentions another possibility:

Chambliss’ withdrawal could also awaken Georgia Democrats from the torpor they’ve been in since losing the governor’s office in 2002. This statement comes from Guy Cecil, executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee:

“Georgia will now offer Democrats one of our best pick-up opportunities of the cycle. There are already several reports of the potential for a divisive primary that will push Republicans to the extreme right. Regardless, there’s no question that the demographics of the state have changed and Democrats are gaining strength. This will be a top priority.”

It certainly bears watching. Keep the popcorn handy.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.