The race is on to replace Saxby Chambliss in the US Senate

8:49 PM, Feb 22, 2013   |    comments
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  • Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) in a Congressional committee hearing in Washington. (Getty Images)
  • U.S. Select Committee on Intelligence ranking member Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) speaks to members of the media after a hearing on the Benghazi attack November 16, 2012 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

ATLANTA -- The big political question is who will run for US Senate when Republican Saxby Chambliss retires at the end of next year.

Chambliss announced in January that he would not seek a third term.

Georgia political strategists are pointing toward US Rep. Phil Gingrey, a Republican conservative from Georgia's 11th District, as a sure candidate for 2014.

But who else could make the short list of candidates?

In an exclusive 11Alive News/Survey USA poll, 500 Georgia voters were asked who they would most prefer to see replace Chambliss when he retires. The poll listed 18 potential candidates.

Coming out on top of the poll was former Republican presidential candidate and radio talk show host Herman Cain with 18 percent. Next was Atlanta's Democratic mayor, Kasim Reed with 7 percent. Reed has already announced that he would be seeking a second mayoral term, and was not interested in a national office.

In a tie for third place with 6 percent were two other Democratic candidates -- ex-state labor commissioner and newly named acting superintendent of the DeKalb County schools Michael Thurmond and Vernon Jones, ex-DeKalb County CEO.

US Rep. Paul Broun, a Republican from the 10th District has already announced his candidacy for the Senate seat.

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