Senator Saxby Chambliss announced that he is planning to retire rather than seek re-election in 2014.
The Georgia Republican likely faced a primary challenge in the race after bucking the party last year on taxes. Two Republican Congressmen from Georgia, Paul Broun and Tom Price, had been rumored to be seeking the seat from Chambliss, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Saxby Chambliss has been in the Senate since 2003, but political insiders are not surprised by his decision to retire. In November he spoke out against the anti-tax pledge from activist Grover Norquist, a pledge once considered a requirement for Republican representatives.
Chambliss joined several other Republicans this fall in criticizing the pledge and how it was hurting the debt negotiations.
“Norquist has no plan to pay this debt down. His plan says you continue to add to the debt, and I just have a fundamental disagreement about that and I’m willing to do the right thing and let the political consequences take care of themselves,” Saxby Chambliss said at the time.
Chambliss also criticized the dysfunctional manner in which Congress has operating in recent years.
“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 told The Associated Press. “For our nation to be strong, for our country to prosper, we cannot continue to play politics with the American economy.
The retirement of Saxby Chambliss could actually pose problems for Republicans, despite the fact that he comes from a right-leaning state. Recent Senate primaries have been dominated by Tea Party candidates, who often fare poorly in general elections.