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FiveThirtyEight

Politics

A quick little pre-Thanksgiving road map from the red clay state of Georgia, where on Tuesday we’ll learn the identity of the 99th member of the Senate. Saxby Chambliss, the incumbent Republican, fell just short on Election Day of the 50% mark needed to avoid the runoff against Democratic opponent Jim Martin.

While the President-Elect is not expected to appear in person on Jim Martin’s behalf, there’s no doubt Barack Obama’s organization is here in force. Organizers, who began showing up almost immediately after the election, are all over the state. Phone banks run by Obama organizers from other states are up and running.

On Saxby Chambliss’ side, the big guns have all come down to campaign, including John McCain and Runoff Eve’s guest Sarah Palin, who has visits planned in Augusta, Savannah, Macon and Atlanta. We’ll be checking out the ground operation around the state for Chambliss, and we’re optimistic that we’ll get solid access.

As a quick note, I walked into the Gwinnett County Democratic field office less than an hour ago, and the vibe was eerily identical in terms of hustle and focus that we witnessed in Obama offices during our eight week cross country journey leading up to November 4. The concentration level was high enough, and the task level obviously significant enough that I walked in and took a self-guided tour and left without anyone noticing. (Part of that is not showing the hesitation of a volunteer, who would be pounced on and put to efficient use right away.)

Over the next few days, we’ll be giving you a closer look at what the campaigns are doing, what we’re seeing on the ground, and of course a Monday full o’ Palin surrogacy. Opportunistic with our spit firing — and maybe if you’re good, America, Nate’ll clarify where that impossibly great phrase came from as a holiday treat — we’ll be dispatching from the state over the final stretch, and hopefully have one or two surprises in store.

In the meantime, enjoy the mashed potatoes and the football.

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