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Oxford Set To Announce Georgia Bid

Self-made millionaire Cliff Oxford (D) is expected to announce this week, possibly as soon as today, that he will enter the Georgia Senate race.

Oxford called Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Jon Corzine (N.J.) last week to inform him of his decision, knowledgeable sources confirmed Friday.

“We’re expecting him to run,” said one Democratic source in Georgia.

When reached on Friday, Oxford said he would have nothing to say until today.

Oxford’s expected announcement comes one week after the surprise entrance of freshman Rep. Denise Majette (D) in the race to succeed retiring Sen. Zell Miller (D).

Majette, a former state judge, ousted outspoken Rep. Cynthia McKinney in a 2002 primary. Still, she faces an uphill battle in pulling together the resources necessary to run a competitive statewide campaign in territory that has trended increasingly Republican in recent years.

Last week the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), said the group will enthusiastically back Majette’s bid to become the second black woman ever elected to the Senate.

The DSCC, meanwhile, had no official comment on Majette’s candidacy. Corzine, who spent more than $60 million to win a Senate seat in 2000, wooed Oxford to run and discussed the race with him in mid-March while in Atlanta for a fundraiser.

Oxford traveled with former President Jimmy Carter to Washington, D.C., for last month’s Democratic National Committee Unity Dinner. Carter has also encouraged his candidacy.

Oxford, 41, worked his way through West Georgia College as a driver for the United Parcel Service. He eventually rose through the ranks of the company to become a regional technology director. In 1995, he founded Support Technologies Inc., a global technology consulting company whose client list included Fortune 500 companies.

Oxford sold the Atlanta-based company for an undisclosed amount in 2003. Earlier this year he gave $5 million to the Goizueta School of Business at Emory University, which has named its executive MBA program after him. He earned his MBA at Emory in 1994.

Oxford, who originally hails from Waycross, Ga., is expected to partially or fully self-fund the Senate race.

Besides Majette, state Sen. Mary Squires and attorney Gary Leshaw are also seeking the Democratic nomination in the July 20 primary.

On the Republican side, Reps. Johnny Isakson and Mac Collins and pizza magnate Herman Cain are vying for the nomination.

The state’s filing deadline is April 30.

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