Palin coming to Gwinnett for Chambliss rally

LAWRENCEVILLE - The world's most famous hockey mom is coming to the Gwinnett Arena, but not for a Gladiators game.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who rose to political stardom this fall as John McCain's vice presidential nominee, will headline a series of rallies for U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss the day before he faces Democrat Jim Martin in a runoff.

"Wow, what a treat," said Gwinnett GOP Chairman Gregory Howard. "She was a big part of the excitement in that ticket. ... We feel very lucky to get her out here."

Palin is the latest in a long street of national political figures hitting the campaign trail in Georgia for the runoff, which could decide if Democrats have a filibuster-proof 60 seats in the Senate.

She is just the second, though, to come to Gwinnett, not only one of the largest county's in the state but a traditional Republican stronghold. While Barack Obama won the presidency, Gwinnettians chose McCain-Palin by a vote spread of 158,746 to 129,025.

Howard said supporters could fill the arena at the 4 p.m. Monday rally.

"I think it'll be overwhelming, especially being late enough in the day for people to get off work a little early and come," he said. "I expect there to be a banner crowd."

Martin's campaign said they have invited Obama to campaign with him, but there is no word yet on whether the president-elect will come to Georgia. He has recorded a radio advertisement and automated phone calls for Martin, a former state senator and human resources commissioner.

Earlier this month, McCain traveled to Georgia for a rally, and other GOP presidential hopefuls former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney attended events for Chambliss. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was part of a FairTax rally with Chambliss at the Arena at Gwinnett Center.

For Martin, former President Bill Clinton and his Vice President Al Gore have made appearances.

The Palin rally is free for the general public, but attendees must RSVP at www.procatalog.com/saxby or by visiting the "Action Center" at www.saxby.org.