The runoff was necessary as neither Chambliss nor Martin, the two major party candidates, had won a majority of the vote in the first round. Early voting hours are set by county, and starts November 17 or November 18. The Georgia Board of Elections maintains a list of times and locations on Georgia Early Voting and Advanced Voting by county. Prior to the runoff, advanced polls were open from November 24 to the 26th. Since the election is a run-off, only those voters who registered in time for the general election could cast ballots.
The state party primaries were on July 15, 2008 with primary runoff elections on August 5, 2008. The general election was held on 4 November 2008 and the general election runoff will be held on December 2, 2008 because no candidate received the necessary fifty percent of the vote.
Allen Buckley - Attorney, Accountant, 2004 senate nominee, and 2006 nominee for lieutenant governor. He was eliminated in the general election, but his endorsement was sought by both the Martin and Chambliss campaigns.
Both qualifying candidates' runoff campaigns began in earnest on November 10, when election returns made it clear that a runoff would be required. With an election date of December 2, candidates were given only 3 weeks for additional campaigning.
Chambliss's campaign verified that former Republican presidential candidates John McCain and Mike Huckabee would be campaigning in Georgia on the Senator's behalf, and former Democratic Governor and former U.S. Senator Zell Miller endorsed Chambliss. Former President Bill Clinton campaigned on Martin's behalf. Sarah Palin campaigned for the Chambliss campaign on December 1, the eve of the run-off election. President-elect Barack Obama had also been invited by the Democratic campaign but decided against making a stop.
The results of the runoff election were of particular interest to both parties. Subsequent to the November 4 general elections, Democrats had captured 58 seats in the Senate, two shy of a filibuster-proof supermajority. The result of Georgia's runoff election, as well as the results of an extremely close race and recount in Minnesota, would determine whether or not the required majority of 60 seats would be met.