Saxby Chambliss

Saxby Chambliss
United States Senator
from Georgia
In office
January 3, 2003  January 3, 2015
Preceded by Max Cleland
Succeeded by David Perdue
Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee
In office
January 3, 2005  January 3, 2007
Preceded by Thad Cochran
Succeeded by Tom Harkin
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 8th district
In office
January 3, 1995  January 3, 2003
Preceded by Roy Rowland
Succeeded by Mac Collins[1]
Personal details
Born Clarence Saxby Chambliss
(1943-11-10) November 10, 1943
Warrenton, North Carolina, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Julianne Frohbert (1966–present)
Children Lia
Alma mater Louisiana Tech University
University of Georgia
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Religion Anglicanism

Clarence Saxby Chambliss (born November 10, 1943) is an American politician who was a United States Senator from Georgia from 2003 to 2015. A member of the Republican Party, he previously served as a U.S. Representative from 1995 to 2003.

During his four terms in the House, Chambliss served on the United States House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and chaired the House Intelligence Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security, which oversaw investigations of the intelligence community after the September 11 attacks in 2001.

During his 2002 bid for the U.S. Senate, Chambliss focused on the issue of national defense and homeland security. He won with 53% of the vote. For several years he was the ranking Republican on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, and chaired the committee during the 109th Congress (2005–2007). In the 112th Congress (2011–2012) he is the ranking Republican on the Select Committee on Intelligence.

Chambliss has a conservative voting record in the Senate, but he has participated in some bipartisan legislation. In December 2011 the Washington Post named Chambliss and the "Gang of Six" as one of the Best Leaders of 2011 for attempts to craft a bipartisan deficit reduction package.[2]

On January 24, 2013, Chambliss announced that he would not be running for a third term.[3]

Early life, education, and family

Chambliss was born in Warrenton, North Carolina, the son of Emma Baker (née Anderson) and Alfred Parker Chambliss, Jr., an Episcopalian minister.[4][5] He graduated from C.E. Byrd High School in Shreveport, Louisiana, in 1961. He attended Louisiana Tech University from 1961–1962 and earned a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the University of Georgia in 1966, working his way through college at a bakery in Athens.[4] He received his Juris Doctor from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1968. He is a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity.

During the Vietnam War, Chambliss received student deferments and was also given a medical deferment (1-Y) for bad knees due to a football injury.[6]

Chambliss is a member of St. Mark's Anglican Church in Moultrie, Georgia. He married Julianne Frohbert in 1966 and they have two children and six grandchildren.

Chambliss's son, Bo, was a registered lobbyist for the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and lobbied on commodity futures trading issues that fall under legislative jurisdiction of the Senate Agriculture Committee, of which the Senator is a member. The Senator's office enacted a policy that prevents Bo from lobbying the Senator or his staff.[7]

House of Representatives

Chambliss was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994 as one of the new conservative Republican congressmen whose elections caused the party to gain a majority in both houses of Congress. A long-time Congressman and fellow Georgian, Newt Gingrich, was the leader of the movement, and Chambliss and the other Republicans elected that year are known as the Class of '94.

Chambliss was elected from the Macon-based 8th District, after six-term incumbent J. Roy Rowland retired. He was elected with 63%[8] of the vote—an unexpectedly large margin since the 8th had never elected a Republican. He faced a tough re-election fight in 1996 against Macon attorney Jim Wiggins, but breezed to reelection in 1998 and 2000.

During his four terms in the House, Chambliss served on the United States House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and chaired the House Intelligence Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security.

Less than a month after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the House Intelligence Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security, which Chambliss chaired, investigated intelligence issues related to the attacks. The committee's investigation resulted in the first comprehensive report detailing critical shortfalls within the United States intelligence community's performance and technological capabilities.[9]

Chambliss was criticized for remarks he made during a November 19, 2001 meeting with first responders in Valdosta, Georgia, where he said that homeland security would be improved by turning the sheriff loose to "arrest every Muslim that crosses the state line." Chambliss apologized for the remarks.[10]

In 2006, Chambliss was among several congressional Republicans and Democrats who returned campaign donations from Jack Abramoff.[11]


As a Representative, Chambliss sponsored 21 bills, including:[12]

104th Congress (1995–1996)

106th Congress (1999–2000)

107th Congress (2001–2002)

U.S. Senate


2002 race

Chambliss with Zell Miller in 2004

Upon urging from Karl Rove and the Bush administration who viewed the Democratic party of Georgia as vulnerable, Chambliss ran for the Senate in 2002, facing freshman Democratic incumbent Max Cleland. Chambliss's political career would have likely ended if he hadn't run for the Senate; the state legislature had shifted his home in Moultrie (along with most of the southern portion of his district) to the nearby 1st district, represented by fellow Republican and friend Jack Kingston.

Chambliss focused on the issue of national defense and homeland security during his campaign, and released an ad that included Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, highlighting Cleland's record on the issues of war and terrorism.[13] Fellow Republicans criticized him after he ran an ad against Cleland, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, in which he argued he was weak on defense and homeland security.[14]

Chambliss received criticism from Democrats and Republicans for this ad, pointing out that he, who hadn't served in the Vietnam War due to receiving military deferments, had attacked a Vietnam War veteran who lost three limbs during his service for not being tough enough on issues of war and homeland security.[15] Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona said of one ad, "It's worse than disgraceful, it's reprehensible."[16] McCain, along with Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, made significant complaints to the Republican National Committee until the ads were taken down.[17] Chambliss supporters disagreed with the criticism, saying the advertisement did not question Cleland's patriotism, but rather his judgment.[18][19]

Chambliss won the election, receiving 53 percent of the votes to Cleland's 46 percent.

Karl Rove stated in his 2010 memoirs that "Although Cleland personally blamed me for the ad, saying I was guilty of 'character assassination' and responsible for 'the biggest lie in America.' I did not conceive, create, or have anything to do with the Chambliss ad. But I thought it was effective because it was factual. Chambliss had run a spot associating himself with Pres. Bush by suggesting Cleland had not supported creating the Homeland Security department. It was a clever tactic, since Bush was very popular in Georgia. Cleland had worked against Bush on creation of the new department. Chambliss' ad morphed Osama bin Laden and Saddam into Cleland suggesting he supported them, followed by a scrolling list of the times he had voted against the homeland security bill."[20]

2008 race

Wikinews has related news: Republican Senator from Georgia wins run-off election

On November 4, 2008, Chambliss received 50% of the vote, while Democratic challenger Jim Martin received 47% and Libertarian Allen Buckley received 3% of the vote.[21]

Since no candidate exceeded 50% of the vote, a runoff election between Chambliss and Martin was held on December 2, 2008.

Chambliss defeated Martin 57% to 43% in the runoff election.[22][23]

Imperial Sugar

During the run-off period, Chambliss received a subpoena regarding the investigation of a lawsuit against Imperial Sugar that claims that Imperial "wrongfully" failed to remove hazards that caused the disaster of a Savannah-based sugar refinery that exploded on February 7, 2008. Chambliss was accused of "harassing"[24] a former sugar company executive. In a statement, Chambliss said he has referred the matter to Senate lawyers. Chambliss has stated: "I continue to sympathize with the families who were devastated by this tragedy and I will continue to work to protect the interests of those families." Savannah attorney Mark Tate, "an active backer of Democratic candidates," insisted that "there is nothing political" about the timing of the subpoena. When Tate subpoenaed Chambliss to testify in the case, Chambliss claimed "legislative immunity."[25][26][27]


As a Senator, Chambliss sponsored 125 bills, including:[28]

108th Congress (2003–2004)

109th Congress (2005–2006)

110th Congress (2007–2008)

111th Congress (2009–2010)

Committee assignments


Vice Chairman Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

Senate Armed Services Committee

Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry

Senate Committee on Rules and Administration

Senate Special Committee on Aging

Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe

According to the Congressional Research Service, Sen. Chambliss is the only senator since 1947 to have chaired a full standing Senate Committee (Agriculture) after serving in the Senate for just two years.

Caucus memberships

Political positions

Voting record

Chambliss's voting record is typically that of voting in line with conservative issues.[30][31] He is the primary sponsor in the United States Senate of the tax-reform proposal The Fair Tax Act (S. 1025), attracting more cosponsors than any other fundamental tax reform bill introduced. Chambliss was one of the co-sponsors of the controversial bill, (PIPA).[32]

Although Chambliss has a conservative voting record, he has participated in bi-partisan legislation—such as the 2007 Farm Bill, the bi-partisan immigration reform (led by John McCain and Ted Kennedy) in 2007[33] and the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.[33] He is also the Republican leader of the Gang of 10, a bipartisan group which has worked to create a compromise surrounding the energy policy of the United States.

On March 6, 2013, Chambliss was one of 12 Senators invited to a private dinner hosted, and personally paid for, by President Obama at The Jefferson Hotel.[34] That same night, Chambliss participated in Rand Paul's filibuster over the government’s use of lethal drone strikes—forcing the Senate to delay the expected confirmation of John O. Brennan to lead the Central Intelligence Agency.[35]

In April 2013, Chambliss was one of forty-six senators to vote against a bill which would have expanded background checks for all firearms buyers. Chambliss voted with 40 Republicans and 5 Democrats to stop the passage of the bill.[36]

Chambliss received bipartisan criticism in 2013 after discussing the "hormone level created by nature" as a possible cause of sexual assault in the military.[37]

In January 2014 Chambliss signed an amicus brief in support of Senator Ron Johnson's legal challenge against the U.S. Office of Personnel Management's Affordable Care Act ruling.[38]

Interest groups ratings

On abortion issues, the ratings given Chambliss as of 2007 by National Right to Life Committee and NARAL Pro-Choice America identify him as having an anti-abortion voting record. The National Right to Life Committee gave him a 100% rating, while NARAL Pro-Choice America gave him a 0% rating.[39][40]

On 2nd Amendment issues, in 2008, the NRA gave Chambliss an "A+" rating and the NRA also endorsed him.[41][42]

On agricultural issues, the American Farm Bureau gave Chambliss its "Friend of the Farm Bureau" award throughout his service in the U.S. Senate.[43]

On economic issues including voting on the national budget, national spending, and taxes, in 2007, the National Tax Limitation Committee gave Chambliss a 90% rating,[44] and the group Americans for Tax Reform gave him a 100% rating.[45]

On civil liberties and civil rights issues, in 2007, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) gave him a 17% rating,[46] and the NAACP gave him a 27% rating.[47] The Human Rights Campaign gave him a 0% rating for 2005–2006[48] and a 20% rating for 2007–2008.[49]

On education issues, in 2008, the Center for Education Reform, gave Chambliss a score of 9 out of 9, and called him a "real reformer",[50] while the National Education Association gave him an "F" in 2007.[51]

On organized labor issues, in 2007 the AFL-CIO gave Chambliss an 11% rating,[52] and the International Foodservice Distributors Association gave him an 85% rating.[53]

On environmental issues, in 2003 the League of Conservation Voters gave Chambliss a 0% rating.[54]

Personal life

On May 6, 2013, Chambliss played golf in a foursome with President Obama, Senator Bob Corker (R–TN), and Senator Mark Udall (D–CO) at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. On the par three 11th hole, Chambliss made a hole in one, choking up on a five iron.[55]

In January 2009, Georgia Trend, a prominent state business and political magazine, named Chambliss its Georgian of the Year. [56]

Electoral history

Georgia's 8th congressional district: Results 1994–2000[57]
Year Democratic Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct
1994 Craig Mathis 53,408 37% Saxby Chambliss 89,591 63%
1996 Jim Wiggins 84,506 47% Saxby Chambliss 93,619 53%
1998 Ronald L. Cain 53,079 38% Saxby Chambliss 87,993 62%
2000 Jim Marshall 79,051 41% Saxby Chambliss 113,380 59%
Georgia Senator (Class II): 2002 results[57]
Year Democratic Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
2002 Max Cleland 932,422 46% Saxby Chambliss 1,071,352 53% Claude "Sandy" Thomas Libertarian 27,830 1%
2008 Jim Martin 1,757,393 47% Saxby Chambliss 1,867,093 50% Alan Buckley Libertarian 127,923 1%
2008 Georgia U.S. Senator general election runoff[23]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Saxby Chambliss (incumbent) 1,228,033 57%
Democratic Jim Martin 909,923 43%
Majority 318,110 15%
Turnout 2,137,956


  1. In 2002 Georgia was redistricted as per the 2000 Census and some districts were renumbered. Democrat Jim Marshall took the seat in Georgia's 3rd congressional district, which was substantially the same as the old 8th district Chambliss represented.
  2. "The best leaders of 2011". The Washington Post. December 19, 2011.
  4. 1 2 "R. Saxby Chambliss." Biography Resource Center Online. Gale Group, 2002. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2009.
  6. Tom Robbins, "The Sunshine Patriots", Village Voice, August 17, 2004
  7. "Democrats target Georgia's Chambliss over son's lobbying – 3/7/06". Retrieved 2011-12-02.
  8. 1994 General Election Results U.S. Congress – 8th District, Georgia Secretary of State
  9. Rep. Saxby Chambliss: Anti-terrorism measures in the U.S.,, October 2, 2001
  10. Melanie Eversley, "Chambliss apologizes for remark on Muslims", Atlanta Journal-Constitution, November 21, 2001.
  11. Bush, lawmakers returning Abramoff donations, MSNBC, January 5, 2006
  12. "Representative Chambliss's Legislation". Library of Congress. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  13. Chambliss Ad (Cleland) on YouTube, August 2, 2006
  14. "Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss won't seek re-election". Fox News. 25 January 2013. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  15. Politico: Cleland ad causes trouble for Chambliss. November 12, 2008.
  16. The Atlantic: The Daily Dish: Quote for the Day. November 12, 2008.
  17. The Orlando Sentinel: Ex-senator Boosts Kerry, Battles Critics. June 13, 2004
  18. Crowley, Michael (April 2, 2004). "Former Sen. Max Cleland: How the disabled war veteran became the Democrats' mascot". Retrieved 2009-01-23.
  19. Coulter, Ann (December 31, 2008). "Teaching Democrats New Tricks". Retrieved 2009-01-23.
  20. Rove, Karl. Courage and Consequence, pp. 312–13
  21. "Georgia Election Results". Secretary of State of Georgia. 2008-11-04. Retrieved 2008-11-12.
  22. "U.S. Senate Election Results". Action News, Atlanta. 2008-12-02. Retrieved 2008-12-02.
  23. 1 2 "Georgia Election Results". State of Georgia Secretary of State. December 2, 2008. Retrieved 3 December 2008.
  24. Peterson, Larry (2008-07-31). "Chambliss in sugar furor". Savannah morning news. Retrieved 2008-11-25.
  25. Peterson, Larry (2008-10-24). "Chambliss subpoenaed in Imperial Sugar case". Savannah morning news. Retrieved 2008-11-25.
  26. Peterson, Larry (2008-11-16). "Chambliss says he doesn't have to obey order to testify in Imperial Sugar lawsuit". Savannah morning news. Retrieved 2008-11-25.
  27. ATKINS, MICHAEL (2008-11-20). "Imperial Sugar executive defends Chambliss". Savannah morning news. Retrieved 2008-11-25.
  28. "Senator Chambliss's Legislation". Library of Congress. Retrieved January 5, 2014.
  30. "American Conservative Union Ratings". Project Vote Smart.
  31. "Christian Coalition Ratings". Project Vote Smart.
  32. "Senator Chambliss official statement on PIPA". Senator Chambliss Official Page.
  33. 1 2 "Scrambling the red states". The Economist. 2008-10-23. Retrieved 2008-10-23.
  34. Calmes, Jackie (March 6, 2013). "G.O.P. Senators Give Obama Dinner Thumbs Up". The New York Times.
  35. Parker, Ashley (March 6, 2013). "Republicans, Led by Rand Paul, Finally End Filibuster". The New York Times.
  36. Silver, Nate (April 18, 2013). "Modeling the Senate's Vote on Gun Control". The New York Times.
  37. Ford, Dana (5 June 2013). "Representatives knock Sen. Saxby Chambliss' comments on sexual assault". CNN. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
  38. Ed O'Keefe. "38 GOP lawmakers join Ron Johnson's Obamacare lawsuit". Washington Post.
  39. "National Right to Life Committee Ratings". Project Vote Smart.
  40. "NARAL Pro-Choice America Ratings". Project Vote Smart.
  41. "Friend of Farm Bureau – 109th Congress". American Farm Bureau Federation.
  42. "Friend of Farm Bureau – 108th Congress". American Farm Bureau Federation.
  43. "Vote Freedom First". NRA-Political Victory Fund.
  44. "National Tax Limitation Committee Ratings". Project Vote Smart.
  45. "Americans for Tax Reform Ratings". Project Vote Smart.
  46. "American Civil Liberties Union Ratings". Project Vote Smart.
  47. "National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Ratings". Project Vote Smart.
  48. "Human Rights Campaign Rating". Project Vote Smart.
  49. "Human Rights Campaign Rating". Project Vote Smart.
  50. "US Senate Candidate Scorecard" (PDF). The Center for Education Reform.
  51. "National Education Association Ratings". Project Vote Smart.
  52. "AFL-CIO Ratings". Project Vote Smart.
  53. "International Foodservice Distributors Association Ratings". Project Vote Smart.
  54. "OnTheIssues Ratings". OnTheIssues.
  55. "Hole in one as Obama golfs with three senators". The Houston Chronicle.
  56. "Biography". Saxby Chambliss official website. Retrieved 17 November 2014.
  57. 1 2 "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Retrieved 2007-08-08.
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United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Roy Rowland
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 8th congressional district

Succeeded by
Mac Collins
Party political offices
Preceded by
Guy Millner
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Georgia
(Class 2)

2002, 2008
Succeeded by
David Perdue
United States Senate
Preceded by
Max Cleland
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Georgia
Served alongside: Zell Miller, Johnny Isakson
Succeeded by
David Perdue
Preceded by
Thad Cochran
Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee
Succeeded by
Tom Harkin
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