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Sen. Chambliss won't seek re-election

The Associated Press

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Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss announced Friday he will not seek a third term next year, saying "this is about frustration" with Washington gridlock that he doesn't see changing in a divided government.

"After much contemplation and reflection, I have decided not to run for re-election to the Senate in 2014," he said.

Saxby, 69, rejected suggestions he couldn't have survived a likely GOP primary fight with the tea party, insisting he has a proud conservative record and noting he received more votes than any other statewide official in Georgia history in 2008.

Instead, he cited his dismay with both Democratic President Barack Obama and the lack of meaningful legislation in Congress, especially in addressing the nation's economic woes. "The debt-ceiling debacle of 2011 and the recent fiscal-cliff vote showed Congress at its worst, and sadly, I don't see the legislative gridlock and partisan posturing improving anytime soon," Chambliss said. "For our nation to be strong, for our country to prosper, we cannot continue to play politics with the American economy."

His strong words echoed those of former Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe, who also complained about the partisan divide and Washington dysfunction in announcing she wouldn't run again last year.

Chambliss, a 1968 graduate of the University of Tennessee law school, has been a GOP loyalist for much of his House and Senate career, but earned the wrath of some in his party for participating in a bipartisan Senate "Gang of Six" intent on finding a way to reduce the deficit. The group advocated a mix of tax increases and spending cuts, but failed to reach agreement on a bargain.

"Leadership is about taking risks when you don't have to. That's why I respect Saxby Chambliss for his willingness to partner with me and other members of … the Gang of Six as we worked for bipartisan solutions on debt and deficits," said Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.

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