Saturday, November 15, 2008

Rivals in politics still brothers in fraternity

Both the candidates for U.S. Senator from Georgia are members of the same college fraternity. Incumbent Saxby Chambliss(R) and his challenger James Martin(D) were members of Sigma Chi at the University of Georgia. Their pledge classes were two years apart, and Chamblis worked to recruit Martin.
Martin alluded to the Sigma Chi connection at a recent Johns Creek political forum where he warmly embraced Julianne Chambliss, who was subbing for her husband at the event.

“Saxby’s circle of friends were a little bit older than mine,” Martin said Thursday. “But we were, and still are, friends. I never take politics personally.”

Chambliss said he and Martin were two years apart at UGA but attended many of the same Sigma Chi functions. The two often ran in different circles, Chambliss said, socializing with classmates of the same age much of the time.
Macon attorney Jerry Harrell, 63, was in Chambliss’ Sigma Chi class at Georgia. The two were friends —- they once sold fruitcakes together for a summer job. Harrell said Martin got into the frat with Chambliss’ enthusiastic backing.

“Saxby and I pledged him up,” Harrell said. “We were a really close-knit as a fraternity. We studied together, and we played together. It was great fun. We were all very close.”
The current members of the chapter are excited to have two of their own engaged in the race.
Current UGA Sigma Chi chapter president Dixon Revell, 22, of Augusta said the race is a frequent topic of discussion at the Athens frat house these days.

A portrait of Chambliss hangs in the house as part of the “Significant Sig,” display —- six frat brothers who have achieved “outstanding distinction” in their professions.

Revell said his 130 frat brothers have not taken a straw poll on the race. And he does not plan one.

“We have people leaning both ways,” he said. “We’re just very proud that we have two frat brothers running for the U.S. Senate.”
The race in Georgia is not over yet. Because Georgia law requires a 50% +1 majority the two Sigma Chi rivals will meet in a runoff later this year.

Rivals in politics still brothers in fraternity |
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