Media reports last night indicated that progressive candidate Jim Martin of Georgia (D) lost his election bid to incumbent Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R). With 96% of precints in, according to the New York Times, Chambliss led Martin 57.5% to 42.5%.
Most sources attribute the substantial victory to the significantly lower voter turnout in the run-off than in the general election. Just over half the voters who participated in the general election came out for yesterday’s run-off. Among those groups with significantly lower voter turnout were African Americans, who had been a key support group for Martin in the general election.
Chambliss’s victory may prevent Democrats from attaining a filibuster-proof 60 votes in the Senate, but the mere fact that this race – seen months ago as a lock for the incumbent – came down to a run-off can be seen as a victory for progressives in an election where voters overwhelmingly rejected the neo-conservative policies of the last eight years.