Thursday, June 5, 2008

Martin surges ahead for Senate, polls says

Posted By on Thu, Jun 5, 2008 at 9:33 PM

Watch your back, Saxby.

According to a new poll by a D.C.-based polling firm, Jim Martin, a late entry into the race for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, has taken a decent lead among likely primary voters.

Martin is formerly a longtime state legislator and chairman of the Department of Human Resources, but he's probably best known outside Atlanta for running for lieutenant governor, a job he lost to Republican Casey Cagle.

The poll, by the Mellman Group, shows Martin leading DeKalb CEO Vernon Jones by 21 percent to 16 percent. The three other Democrats – ex-TV reporter Dale Cardwell, former Congressional staffer Josh Lanier and businessman Rand Knight – were all in the single digits.

Martin can't get too comfy, though – 51 percent of those polled were undecided, meaning the July 15 primary is up in the air.

Still, the poll shows upward movement for Martin's young campaign, which only began March 19. By the end of that month, he'd reported having raised nearly $350,000, so it's a safe guess that he'll soon be over the $1 million mark. Only Jones reported raising more – $488,000 – but much of that money had already been spent.

Martin is Chambliss' worst nightmare because he's everything Jones is not: a viable general-election candidate whose nomination would open the floodgates on the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee's coffers. The Senate Dems hate the incumbent's guts – not least for smearing Max Cleland and for impersonating Bush's suppository – and, by most insider accounts, would spend freely to run "Saxby's a scumbag" TV ads around the clock all fall.

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