2002 United States Senate election in Georgia

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2002 United States Senate election in Georgia

← 1996 November 5, 2002 2008 →
  Saxby Chambliss.jpg Cleland.jpg
Nominee Saxby Chambliss Max Cleland
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 1,071,153 931,857
Percentage 52.8% 45.9%

Georgia Senate Election Results by County, 2002.svg
County results
Chambliss:      40–50%      50–60%      60–70%      70–80%
Cleland:      40–50%      50–60%      60–70%      70–80%

U.S. Senator before election

Max Cleland

Elected U.S. Senator

Saxby Chambliss

The 2002 United States Senate election in Georgia took place on November 5, 2002. Incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Max Cleland ran for re-election to a second term, but was defeated by Republican Saxby Chambliss.

This was the last midterm senate election in which an incumbent of the out-of-presidency party lost reelection until 2018.[1]

Major candidates[edit]




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.[2][3] Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona said of one ad, "It's worse than disgraceful, it's reprehensible."[4] McCain, along with Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, made significant complaints to the Republican National Committee until the ads were taken down.[5]



General election results
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Saxby Chambliss 1,071,153 52.8%
Democratic Max Cleland (incumbent) 931,857 45.9%
Libertarian Claude Thomas 26,981 1.3%
Total votes 2,029,991 100.0%
Republican gain from Democratic


  1. ^ Why The 2018 Senate Elections Are Looking Bad For Both Parties. FiveThirtyEight.
  2. ^ Chambliss Ad (Cleland), YouTube, August 2, 2006
  3. ^ Politico: Cleland ad causes trouble for Chambliss. November 12, 2008.
  4. ^ The Atlantic: The Daily Dish: Quote for the Day. November 12, 2008.
  5. ^ The Orlando Sentinel: Ex-senator Boosts Kerry, Battles Critics. June 13, 2004