Saxby Chambliss

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Saxby Chambliss
Saxby Chambliss.jpg
United States Senator
from Georgia
In office
January 3, 2003 – January 3, 2015
Preceded byMax Cleland
Succeeded byDavid Perdue
Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee
In office
January 3, 2005 – January 3, 2007
Preceded byThad Cochran
Succeeded byTom Harkin
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 8th district
In office
January 3, 1995 – January 3, 2003
Preceded byRoy Rowland
Succeeded byJim Marshall (Redistricting)
Personal details
Clarence Saxby Chambliss

(1943-11-10) November 10, 1943 (age 79)
Warrenton, North Carolina, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Julianne Frohbert
(m. 1966)
EducationUniversity of Georgia (BBA)
University of Tennessee, Knoxville (JD)

Clarence Saxby Chambliss (born November 10, 1943) is an American lawyer and retired 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 House tenure, Chambliss chaired the House Intelligence Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security. This subcommittee oversaw investigations of the intelligence community following the September 11 attacks in 2001.

Chambliss was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2002. As a senator, he chaired the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry during the 109th Congress (2005–2007). During the 112th Congress (2011–2012), he was the ranking Republican on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. In December 2011, the Washington Post named Chambliss as one of the Best Leaders of 2011 for his attempts to craft a bipartisan deficit reduction package. Chambliss was re-elected to the Senate in 2008, but did not seek reelection in 2014.

Early life and education[edit]

Chambliss was born in Warrenton, North Carolina, the son of Emma Baker (née Anderson) and Alfred Parker Chambliss, Jr., an Episcopal minister.[1][2] 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 of Business Administration from the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business in 1966, working his way through college at a bakery in Athens.[1] He received his Juris Doctor from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1968. He is a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity.[citation needed]

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.[3]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

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.[citation needed]

Chambliss was elected from the Macon-based 8th District, after six-term incumbent J. Roy Rowland retired. He was elected with 63%[4] 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. In the latter contest, he faced a reasonably well-financed challenger in former Macon mayor Jim Marshall, but turned back this challenge fairly easily with 59 percent of the vote.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

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.[5]

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.[6]

In 2006, Chambliss was among several congressional Republicans and Democrats who returned campaign donations from Jack Abramoff.[7]

U.S. Senate[edit]


2002 race[edit]

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.[citation needed] During the campaign, Chambliss ran an advertisement against Cleland, a decorated Vietnam War veteran who lost three limbs during the war, in which Cleland was described as weak on defense and homeland security.[8][9] Chambliss received criticism from Democrats and Republicans for this advertisement.[9] Republican Sens. John McCain and Chuck Hagel complained to the Republican National Committee about the advertisement, and it was taken down.[10]

Chambliss won the election, receiving 53 percent of the votes to Cleland's 46 percent.[11]

2008 race[edit]

On November 4, 2008, Chambliss received 49.8% of the vote, while Democratic challenger Jim Martin received 47% and Libertarian Allen Buckley received 3% of the vote.[12]

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

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"[13] a former sugar company executive. In a statement, Chambliss stated that he sympathized with the families affected by the explosion and had referred the matter to Senate lawyers. When he was subpoenaed to testify in the case, Chambliss claimed "legislative immunity."[14][15][16]

Chambliss defeated Martin 57% to 43% in the runoff election.[17]


Chambliss was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2002. As a senator, he chaired the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry during the 109th Congress (2005–2007). During the 112th Congress (2011–2012), he was the ranking Republican on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.[citation needed]

Although Chambliss had a conservative voting record, he participated in bipartisan legislation—such as the 2007 Farm Bill, the bipartisan immigration reform (led by John McCain and Ted Kennedy) in 2007[18] and the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.[18] He was also the Republican leader of the Gang of 10, a bipartisan group which worked to create a compromise surrounding the energy policy of the United States.[citation needed] In December 2011, the Washington Post named Chambliss as one of the Best Leaders of 2011 for his attempts to craft a bipartisan deficit reduction package.[19]

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.[20] 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.[21]

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 five Democrats to stop the passage of the bill.[22]

Chambliss received bipartisan criticism in 2013 after discussing the "hormone level created by nature" as a possible cause of sexual assault in the military.[23]

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.[24]

Chambliss's son, Bo, was a registered lobbyist for the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Bo Chambliss lobbied on commodity futures trading issues that fell under legislative jurisdiction of the Senate Agriculture Committee, of which the Senator was a member. Sen. Chambliss's office enacted a policy that prevented Bo Chambliss from lobbying the Senator or his staff.[25]

Chambliss did not seek reelection in 2014.[26] Days after his retirement from the Senate in 2015, it was announced he was joining DLA Piper as a partner.[27]

Committee assignments[28][edit]

  • Vice Chairman, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
  • Senate Armed Services Committee
    • Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities
    • Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support
    • Subcommittee on Personnel
  • Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry
    • Subcommittee on Commodities, Markets, Trade and Risk Management (Ranking Member)
    • Subcommittee on Jobs, Rural Economic Growth and Energy Innovation
    • Subcommittee on Conservation, Forestry and Natural Resources
  • Senate Committee on Rules and Administration
  • Senate Special Committee on Aging
  • Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe

Caucus memberships[edit]

  • Congressional Fire Services Caucus
  • Congressional Sportsmen Foundation
  • Juvenile Diabetes Caucus
  • National Guard Caucus
  • Rural Health Caucus
  • Senate Caucus on Military Depots, Arsenals and Ammunition Plants
  • Co-Chair, Senate Reserve Caucus
  • Steering Committee

Personal life[edit]

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.[citation needed]

Chambliss suffered a minor stroke in December 2020.[26]

Electoral history[edit]

Georgia's 8th congressional district: Results 1994–2000[29]
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[29]
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 3.4%
2008 Georgia U.S. Senator general election runoff[30]
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. ^ a b "R. Saxby Chambliss." Biography Resource Center Online. Gale Group, 2002. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2009.
  2. ^ "Chambliss' mother dies in Roswell » Local News » Moultrie Observer". Archived from the original on October 24, 2013. Retrieved October 24, 2013.
  3. ^ Tom Robbins, "The Sunshine Patriots" Archived February 4, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, Village Voice, August 17, 2004
  4. ^ 1994 General Election Results U.S. Congress – 8th District, Georgia Secretary of State
  5. ^ Rep. Saxby Chambliss: Anti-terrorism measures in the U.S.,, October 2, 2001
  6. ^ Melanie Eversley, "Chambliss apologizes for remark on Muslims", Atlanta Journal-Constitution, November 21, 2001.
  7. ^ Bush, lawmakers returning Abramoff donations, NBC News, January 5, 2006
  8. ^ "Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss won't seek re-election". Fox News. January 25, 2013. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  9. ^ a b Politico: Cleland ad causes trouble for Chambliss. November 12, 2008.
  10. ^ The Orlando Sentinel: Ex-senator Boosts Kerry, Battles Critics. June 13, 2004
  11. ^ Gettleman, Jeffrey (November 6, 2002). "THE 2002 ELECTIONS: GEORGIA; Senator Cleland Loses in an Upset To Republican Emphasizing Defense (Published 2002)". The New York Times.
  12. ^ "Georgia Election Results". Secretary of State of Georgia. November 4, 2008. Retrieved November 12, 2008.
  13. ^ Peterson, Larry (July 31, 2008). "Chambliss in sugar furor". Savannah morning news. Archived from the original on September 22, 2008. Retrieved November 25, 2008.
  14. ^ Peterson, Larry (October 24, 2008). "Chambliss subpoenaed in Imperial Sugar case". Savannah morning news. Archived from the original on July 14, 2012. Retrieved November 25, 2008.
  15. ^ Peterson, Larry (November 16, 2008). "Chambliss says he doesn't have to obey order to testify in Imperial Sugar lawsuit". Savannah morning news. Archived from the original on October 25, 2009. Retrieved November 25, 2008.
  16. ^ ATKINS, MICHAEL (November 20, 2008). "Imperial Sugar executive defends Chambliss". Savannah morning news. Archived from the original on October 25, 2009. Retrieved November 25, 2008.
  17. ^ Saxby Chambliss wins Georgia runoff, Politico, John Kraushaar, December 2, 2008. Retrieved January 6, 2021.
  18. ^ a b "Scrambling the red states". The Economist. October 23, 2008. Retrieved October 23, 2008.
  19. ^ "The best leaders of 2011". The Washington Post. December 19, 2011.
  20. ^ Calmes, Jackie (March 6, 2013). "G.O.P. Senators Give Obama Dinner Thumbs Up". The New York Times.
  21. ^ Parker, Ashley (March 6, 2013). "Republicans, Led by Rand Paul, Finally End Filibuster". The New York Times.
  22. ^ Silver, Nate (April 18, 2013). "Modeling the Senate's Vote on Gun Control". The New York Times.
  23. ^ Ford, Dana (June 5, 2013). "Representatives knock Sen. Saxby Chambliss' comments on sexual assault". CNN. Retrieved August 14, 2014.
  24. ^ Ed O'Keefe. "38 GOP lawmakers join Ron Johnson's Obamacare lawsuit". Washington Post.
  25. ^ "Democrats target Georgia's Chambliss over son's lobbying – 3/7/06". Archived from the original on June 5, 2011. Retrieved December 2, 2011.
  26. ^ a b Staff, WSBTV com News (December 31, 2020). "Former U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss recovering after minor stroke this week". WSBTV.
  27. ^ "Former US Senator Saxby Chambliss joins DLA Piper as partner - News". DLA Piper. January 8, 2015. Archived from the original on September 17, 2021. Retrieved September 17, 2021.
  28. ^ "Committee Assignments - Issues & Legislation - Saxby Chambliss, U.S. Senator for Georgia". Archived from the original on June 1, 2011. Retrieved May 16, 2012.
  29. ^ a b "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Retrieved August 8, 2007.
  30. ^ "Georgia Election Results". State of Georgia Secretary of State. December 2, 2008. Retrieved December 3, 2008.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 8th congressional district

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

2002, 2008
Succeeded by
U.S. Senate
Preceded by U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Georgia
Served alongside: Zell Miller, Johnny Isakson
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee
Succeeded by
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded byas Former US Senator Order of precedence of the United States
as Former US Senator
Succeeded byas Former US Senator