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1996 Georgia (U.S. state) 2008
United States Senate election in Georgia, 2002
November 5, 2002
Saxby Chambliss.jpg Cleland.jpg
Nominee Saxby Chambliss Max Cleland
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 1,071,153 931,857
Percentage 52.77% 45.90%
County Results

Previous Senator
Max Cleland

Saxby Chambliss

The 2002 Georgia senate election took place on November 5, 2002. Republican nominee, Saxby Chambliss, first ran for the Senate in 2002 and won a close race, defeating the Democratic incumbent, Max Cleland, 53 percent to 46 percent. His House career would have likely been over even if he hadn't run for the Senate; his home in Moultrie had been redrawn into the neighboring 1st District, represented by fellow Republican Jack Kingston.


Chambliss's campaign used the refrain of national defense and security, but drew criticism for television ads that paired images of Cleland and Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, and for questioning the commitment to homeland security of his opponent, a triple amputee and decorated Vietnam veteran.[1][2] Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona said of one ad, "It's worse than disgraceful, it's reprehensible;" Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska said the ads were "beyond offensive to me."[3]


2002 Georgia U.S. Senator general election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Saxby Chambliss 1,071,153 52.8%
Democratic Max Cleland 931,857 45.9%
Libertarian Claude Thomas 26,981 1.3%




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