Political Notebook: Chambliss in lead for Senate re-election

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss has a big lead in the November re-election race.

According to a poll released Friday, the Republican from Moultrie leads Democratic challenger Jim Martin by 18 points.

In the Strategic Vision poll, Chambliss has support from 54 percent of the respondents, with Martin getting 36 percent and Libertarian Allen Buckley taking 4 percent. Six percent remain undecided.

But last week, Martin, a former state legislator and commissioner of human resources, began running television ads featuring former Sen. Max Cleland.

Cleland lost a bitter 2002 race to Chambliss, after an ad questioning Cleland's commitment to homeland security. Cleland is a triple amputee and Vietnam veteran.

In this election's ad, Cleland praises Martin's service in Vietnam where he worked as a military intelligence officer. A bad knee kept Chambliss out of the conflict.

Chambliss was planning to host a campaign kickoff in Atlanta on Saturday, and officials for the McCain-Palin campaign were hosting an event in Lawrenceville.

The event was to open the Republican presidential campaign office at the corner of Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road and Duluth Highway.

Cagle for governor?

Also in the news last week, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle has filed paperwork to run for governor.

Duluth Republican Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine has already entered the race, so the two could meet in the primary.

Cagle's entrance into the 2010 contest means people could begin clamoring to become the state's second-in-command.

State Sen. David Shafer, R-Duluth, is expected to join the fray.

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.