Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia has been blunt in his thoughts on the so-called Norquist pledge, an agreement not to raise taxes, period. Chambliss has said he’s willing to violate that pledge to avoid the fiscal cliff.
“I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge,” Chambliss told WMAZ-TV of Macon, Ga., in an interview before the Thanksgiving holiday.
Chambliss took a shot at conservative budget maven Grover Norquist who created the pledge and is pressuring conservatives to stick to their pledge.
“If we do it his way then we’ll continue in debt, and I just have a disagreement with him about that,” Chambliss said.
The pledge is very popular with the conservative base of the Republican Party, and it appears the conservative senator, who is up for re-election in 2014, could pay a political price in the form a primary challenge.
Erick Erickson, a conservative commentator, radio host and blogger who heads up RedState.com, announced on his radio show on Tuesday evening that he had been approached about challenging Chambliss and that he was going to give the idea “prayerful consideration.”
Erickson, 37, hosts a radio talk-show on Atlanta’s WSB-AM, and in 2007 he was elected to the city council in Macon. He resigned his post in 2011 to take the WSB-AM job.
In a blog post on Tuesday, Erickson ripped into Chambliss and expressed his hope that someone would challenge the Senator in a primary.
“Saxby Chambliss has been part of the problem and remains part of the problem,” he wrote. “…we here in Georgia should convince Saxby that we are a problem — his problem in his path to re-election. We can and should make him fight for it and, the Good Lord willing, drive him from office in 2014.”
Another Georgia Republican, former Secretary of State Karen Handel, has also said that she is considering challenging Chambliss. Georgia is a solidly Republican state, so the GOP primary is likely going to be the only competitive statewide contest in the state in 2014. The Republican candidate will be heavily favored to win the general election.