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Palin back on the campaign trail

  • Story Highlights
  • Runoff election for Georgia U.S. Senate seat takes place on Tuesday
  • Sarah Palin to campaign for Sen. Saxby Chambliss on Sunday and Monday
  • Chambliss is running against Democrat Jim Martin, who's had help from Bill Clinton
  • John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney have campaigned for Chambliss
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From Paul Steinhauser
CNN Deputy Political Director
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is adding her name to the list of big-name surrogates who are making campaign cameos in the last remaining Senate election this year.

Sarah Palin hits the campaign trail Sunday and Monday for GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia.

Sarah Palin hits the campaign trail Sunday and Monday for GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia.

Palin teams up with Sen. Saxby Chambliss at a fundraiser Sunday night and at four campaign stops across Georgia on Monday, the last full day of campaigning before Tuesday's runoff election.

Chambliss is the freshman Republican senator from Georgia who is fighting to keep his seat. He's facing Jim Martin -- a former state lawmaker in Georgia -- in the runoff election.

Chambliss won a plurality of the vote on Election Day, but Georgia state law requires 50 percent plus one vote for a victory. Due to the inclusion of a third party candidate, Chambliss fell just shy of that threshold, forcing a runoff contest.

Palin is the latest high-profile surrogate to stump with Chambliss. Sen. John McCain returned to the trail to campaign with Chambliss just nine days after losing the presidential election to Sen. Barack Obama.

Two weeks ago, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee -- who ran for the Republican presidential nomination before dropping out in March and backing McCain -- campaigned with Chambliss. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has also teamed up with Chambliss. Romney also ran for the GOP presidential nomination before ending his bid in February and backing McCain.

Last week, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani campaigned with Chambliss. Giuliani was another contender for the Republican presidential nomination. He dropped out in late January and immediately endorsed McCain.

Giuliani, Huckabee, and Romney all could take another stab at presidential politics in 2012. Palin might possibly join them.

Martin is also getting some major-league help. Both former President Bill Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore have separately teamed up with Martin. Are you voting in Georgia?

Do all these big name surrogates make a difference?

"Generally they can help boost turnout, because of all the media attention. Turnout in a runoff election is often very low compared to a presidential election and each side needs to get as many of their voters to the polls as possible," says CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider.

Democrats have so far picked up seven Senate seats in this year's election, with the Republican seats in Georgia and Minnesota still undecided. In Minnesota, freshman GOP Senator Norm Coleman topped his Democratic challenger, Al Franken, by just 215 votes, triggering an automatic recount, which will extend well into December.

If the Democrats take both contests, they'll reach their pre-election goal of controlling 60 Senate seats, which would be a filibuster-proof majority. A filibuster is a move by the minority party in the Senate that basically brings the chamber to a standstill by blocking votes on legislation.

All About Sarah PalinSaxby ChamblissJim Martin

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