Republican Saxby Chambliss easily won a closely-watched US Senate run-off election on Tuesday in Georgia, denying Democrats’ hopes for an unassailable 60-seat “super majority”.
With 97 per cent of the ballots counted, Chambliss led with 57.4 per cent while Democrat Jim Martin trailed far behind with 42.6 per cent of the vote.
The runoff came nearly one month after the November 4 balloting in which neither Chambliss or Martin secured 50 per cent of the vote. The Democrats needed to win the Georgia contest to reach the 60-seat threshold that would have prevented Republicans from blocking legislation in the 100-seat chamber. Such a commanding majority would have allowed the Democrats to cut off debate on bills and force votes, greatly strengthening president-elect Barack Obama’s hand.
The result result meant that if Republican lawmakers maintain unity, they will have enough seats to use procedures to block or stall votes on key bills.
Turnout was much lower than in the November 4 election, with more than two million coming out to vote compared to about 3.7 million last month.