Chambliss campaign manager’s thoughts on Deal: “Nothing”

Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., (right) with Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., in 2011. (Alex Brandon/AP)

Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., (right) with Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., in 2011. (Alex Brandon/AP)

By Daniel Malloy

The long-time campaign manager for U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss said today that all the hullabaloo around a potential primary race has been “a real net positive” for Chambliss, dismissed the “rumors” and “rumblings” about a big-name primary challenger as nothing more and said the senator is focused on his day job.

I asked Tom Perdue over the phone what he thought of Gov. Nathan Deal’s comment last week that “it’s way too early to be picking winners and losers” in a Chambliss primary. Perdue replied: “Nothing.”

Frosty is an understatement to describe the relationship between Perdue and Team Deal since Perdue said Deal should drop out of the 2010 governor’s race following revelations about Deal’s financial troubles. Charlie Harper of Peach Pundit pointed out that Perdue’s public appearance with Chambliss at a politically fraught Cobb County GOP breakfast Dec. 1 likely sparked the governor’s ire.

In today’s interview, Perdue speculated that Deal’s non-endorsement could have something to do with Deal’s closeness to U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey of Marietta, whose name has been mentioned by people who mention names — though Perdue acknowledged Gingrey has indicated he would not primary Chambliss. The more commonly discussed candidates who have not removed themselves from consideration are former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel, U.S. Rep. Tom Price of Roswell and U.S. Rep. Paul Broun of Athens.

Without naming names, Perdue said: “Some of the people, they got their name in the paper, got mentioned on television so they have a little more fame than they currently have. They’re happy. So if they’re happy, we’re happy too. No harm done.”

Perdue said the headlines made by Chambliss’ break with anti-tax enforcer Grover Norquist and the speculation surrounding a primary challenge have brought Chambliss unprecedented support.

“We have had a lot of people contact us wanting to do fundraisers for Saxby, much moreso than we have ever had at this point in time in a cycle or in a year,” Perdue said. “And we have had some really good people that have supported Saxby in the past but have not necessarily been out front.”

Perdue praised Chambliss as a “statesman” of the likes Georgia has not seen since the days of U.S. Sen. Richard Russell. He said Chambliss is focusing on the fiscal cliff and his new grandson. Joseph Chambliss Baker was born Monday at 6 lbs., 15 oz. Mother (Chambliss’ daughter Lia) and baby are reportedly doing well.

“He’s not paying any attention to a primary race two years down the road right now,” Perdue said. “He wasn’t doing that the five or six days that everybody was talking about it and he’s still not, and that’s the way it should be.”

- Daniel Malloy, for the AJC Political Insider blog

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11 comments Add your comment

nathan's political arsonist

December 12th, 2012
2:00 pm

will be a great day for georgia when every single person mentioned in this article is gone from public office

Out with Perdue

December 12th, 2012
2:00 pm

Perdue should be bounced. He was the sole reason that Saxby was even in the run-off in 2008. Deal doesn’t have a problem with Saxby, he has a problem with Perdue.

On My Way

December 12th, 2012
2:47 pm

I like Saxby. He blames whistle blowers when people die in workplace explosions. Just the kind of politician Georgians want.

Taxi Smith

December 12th, 2012
3:13 pm

Everybody has an axe to grind, right? Including the people who have responded above. There are no open minds.


December 12th, 2012
3:20 pm

Phil Gingrey shouldn’t even be in Congress after 2014. The guy is like 75 years old already. I can’t imagine he wants to hang around Congress much longer so he can become an object of ridicule like Strom Thurmond or Charlie Rangel.


December 12th, 2012
3:22 pm

Or any of the other 80+ year olds in Congress, hanging on because they don’t have anything else in life better to do…

Roswell St. GOP breakfast

December 12th, 2012
4:50 pm

The only reason that it did not get more ugly at the Cobb GOP Breakfast was due to the extended begging and pleading of Chairman Joe Dendy to not ask tough questions. Joe may like to get his picture made with the state’s leading Republican leaders but it seems that he has forgot who he represents – the Cobb Republican Voters. I, like many, walked away with a bitter taste.

Retired Soldier

December 12th, 2012
5:10 pm


Don’t blame you, our elected officals, republicans are who I deal with, can’t answer the tough questions. They want to be treated with kit gloves and admired for the great people they think they are. With a country in dep trouble and our elected officals doing nothing we need to hold them accountable. I can’t think of a single incumbent of either party at the congressional level that deserves to be re-elected.

Bottomline. Get the budget balanced and stop adding more debt or go home.

Tom mitchell

December 12th, 2012
5:31 pm

Tom Perdue is a tough guy who does not mind doing whatever it takes to win. I also think he loves shoving old ladies off campaign podiums….


December 12th, 2012
5:43 pm

Chambliss needs to be defeated. He folds like a cheap umbrella and has no spine to resist the needless tax increases proposed by the libs.

We don’t need another variation of the statist Democratic party, so we don’t need Saxby Chambliss. Send him packing so he can check his watch full-time.

Tom Perdue's Ex

December 13th, 2012
1:27 pm

Tom Perdue’s quote about Phil Gingrey show just how tone deaf and out of touch this guy is. Gingrey has nothing to do with the Governor’s backing away from Saxby and everything to do with his distain for the man that ran Saxby’s 08 campaign into the ground (while pocketing a 7 figure winfall), and who then came out in 2010 and attacked the GOP nominee for Governor.

Everyone close to Saxby knows that Tom Perdue is the problem here and that he must go. If Saxby holds on to Tom, despite the ever louder calls for a separation, then Saxby deserves to, and likely will lose in 2014.

It’s time for Saxby to put the hatchet to his old hatchet man and right this ship before it is too late.