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Obama airs radio ad for Jim Martin

President-elect Barack Obama has gotten involved in the Georgia Senate race, although his transition plans have kept him from visiting the state.

Obama, who became the first black man elected president earlier this month, recorded a radio ad asking the Georgia electorate to vote for Jim Martin, the Democrat facing incumbent Saxby Chambliss in the Dec. 2 runoff. It first aired Friday.

"I want to urge you to turn out one more time and help elect Jim Martin to the United States Senate," Obama said in the ad, adding that Martin will "help me change Washington and get America moving again."

Former President Bill Clinton appeared in Atlanta last week, and former Vice President Al Gore, who was the Democratic nominee for president in 2000, is expected to attend a Martin fundraiser today.

But election officials were unsure if Obama would be able to fit the campaign, which could decide whether Democrats have a filibuster-blocking 60 votes in the Senate, into his schedule.

"I am honored to have President-elect Obama's strong support," said Martin, a former state senator and human resources commissioner. "I plan to go to Washington to work with Barack Obama to fix our economy and get our country moving for middle class Georgians."

Chambliss has also had his share of national figures lend a hand.

GOP presidential nominee John McCain led a rally for Chambliss earlier this month. He got former Sen. Fred Thompson's endorsement this week, and with the recent appearance of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and a rally in Savannah on Friday with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Chambliss has gotten support from nearly every major Republican who ran for president this year.

Next week, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is expected to attend an Atlanta fundraiser.

But while Chambliss and Martin host events across the state, the two will not meet in the Atlanta Press Club debate, which was scheduled for today. Neither was able to agree to the schedule, although press club officials said debates for Public Service Commissioner and Georgia Court of Appeals will be held.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.