U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss implored the Republican faithful to get out the vote for the Nov. 4 election during a campaign stop Monday in Gainesville.
Chambliss was the headliner at a regional Republican rally at the Gainesville Civic Center.
He was joined by U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal, R-Gainesville, and other statewide Republican candidates, such as Public Service Commission candidate Lauren McDonald Jr., R-Clarkesville.
Chambliss, who is completing his first term in the Senate, said the race is as tough as it was six years ago, only this time, he is the incumbent.
"It’s no easier," Chambliss said. "But it’s fun. I’ve had a chance on this bus tour for the past seven days to get around the state and have a chance to look voters in the eye and find out what’s on their mind."
Recent polls have shown a much tighter race between Chambliss and former state Rep. Jim Martin, R-Atlanta.
"The numbers are starting to move in our favor," Chambliss said afterward. "I don’t rely on polls, but the trends favor us."
He said U.S. Senate races tend to be politically close contests. However, Chambliss defeated former U.S. Sen. Max Cleland, D-Ga., 53 to 46 percent. More recently, U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., defeated U.S. Rep. Denise Majette, R-Ga., by a 58 to 40 percent margin.
Chambliss said he has felt some of the anti-incumbent sentiment that has grown in recent weeks.
"Right now, we’re in some difficult times," he said. "We’re in a crisis situation financially. We’ve got a crisis in energy. People deserve to be angry about the financial crisis because I’m angry about it. I don’t like what happened and I want to make sure we go back and look and see what happened."
In his remarks during the rally, Chambliss drew applause when he took aim at a statement by Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama in support of Florida in the tri-state water war.
He said Obama’s campaign has tried to back away from the announcement, but he condemned Martin for not taking issue with Obama for the comment, which was released by campaign officials in Florida, one of the swing states critical to win the presidency.
Chambliss also criticized Martin’s stance against deepening the channel leading to the Georgia ports in Savannah. The senator said if the work is not done when larger tankers start moving through the Panama Canal in 2012, it would hurt the ability to export poultry through Savannah.
Alec Poitevint, chairman of the McCain-Palin campaign in both Georgia and the Southeast, was traveling with Chambliss and said there is strong support for the Republican slate in Georgia.
"There is energy all over this state," Poitevint said. "There are people from all walks of life that are fired up. Campaigns either look like winners or losers and this is a winner."
The Gainesville stop was the final one on a day that saw Chambliss bring his campaign to Cumming, Dahlonega and Clarkesville.