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Veteran Atlanta TV reporter seeks Chambliss seat in 08
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An Atlanta TV news reporter has tossed his hat into the ring for U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ seat.

Dale Cardwell, a veteran investigative reporter for WSB-TV in Atlanta, announced Monday he intends to seek the Democratic party nomination to oppose Chambliss in the 2008 election. He resigned his position with WSB on Friday.

“I will not take money from special interest group PAC’s or registered Washington lobbyists.  I will owe my allegiance to only one group, the people of Georgia,” Cardwell said.

In a release to WSB-TV, Chambliss’ office said, “Senator Chambliss is humbled and honored to serve as a strong voice for Georgians in the United States Senate. He is preparing for a serious and spirited campaign in 2008. Whoever emerges as the Democratic nominee will be formidable and Senator Chambliss looks forward to a serious dialogue on the issues.”

Cardwell has six “Emmy” awards, presented by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, as well as numerous other honors such as 2005’s “Journalist of the Year,” from the Atlanta Press Club.

William “Dale” Cardwell was born in Greenville, Ky., on Dec. 31, 1962. His father, Bill Cardwell, is a retired coal miner and his mother, Carolyn Cardwell, is a homemaker. He is the second of three children. His older brother Bruce is married, the father of two and a graphic artist in Nashville, Tenn. His sister Rebekah is a nurse, wife and mother of three in St. Augustine, Fla.

His mother recalls Dale was born during a particularly brutal winter, and went as far as wrapping her newborn in blankets and placing him on the opened door of the kitchen oven, in order to ward off the single digit temperatures and biting wind that pounded the mobile home in which they lived.

Bill and Carolyn are natives of northeast Alabama, and soon after Dale’s birth, moved the family back to the Deep South when a coal mining job opened up south of Birmingham.

Cardwell’s early life revolved around church, family and sports.  He became a born-again Christian at age 9 when he gave his heart to Christ in a pew of Faith Baptist Church in Hueytown, Ala. He attended grammar and middle school in Jefferson County, was president of his 4-H chapter, and won the club’s district-wide public speaking award in the state’s most populated county.

Cardwell learned first hand about harsh economic reality while watching his dad go on strike and fight for better health care and wages as a member of the United Mine Workers of America, and later when his dad’s mine closed down in 1976. Pending unemployment sent the family once again to the coal fields of western Kentucky.  Cardwell attended Ohio County High School in Hartford, Ky., earned co-captain honors on his football team, and graduated with the distinction of student council class president in 1981.

He worked his way through college, spinning records and giving the news by way of several local radio stations throughout the western Kentucky region.

He graduated cum laude from Western Kentucky University with a double major in journalism and political science in 1981, landed his first television reporting job at WKAG in Hopkinsville, and married his high school sweetheart, Angie Saint, in Beaver Dam, Ky., on Jan. 18, 1986.

Cardwell quickly demonstrated his “nose for news” when he obtained an audio tape sent from a serviceman who later died in the crash of an army-chartered jet in route to the U.S. from Gander, Newfoundland in December of 1986, which killed all 248 aboard. The tape, mailed to the serviceman’s fiancé days before the flight, told her of the service men and women’s fear of flying on what he referred to as the “rickety-old” army-chartered transportation.

Cardwell’s story was aired on every national network and led to hearings in Washington and a thorough vetting of the military’s aviation transport policy.

He continued his investigative journalism at WBMG in Birmingham, WRAL in Raleigh, N.C., WSMV in Nashville, Tenn., and an 11-year stint as a consumer reporter and investigative journalist with WSB in Atlanta.

His more recent investigations have led to the exposure of corruption on the part of former Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell, the conviction of former DeKalb County Sheriff Sidney Dorsey, the resignation of Fulton County Sheriff Jackie Barrett, the return of public funds by Sen. Zell Miller and the termination of Gov. Sonny Perdue’s abuse of government airplanes and helicopters for private benefit.

Cardwell lives in DeKalb County with his wife Angie, their son, Adam, and daughter, Jessica. He serves as a Deacon and substitute Sunday School teacher at Dunwoody Baptist Church. His hobbies include sports, singing with his brother Bruce in their long time gospel group and restoring classic cars.

“My friends, this may well be our last chance to take our government back,” he said. “This may be our last chance to elect an outsider who will stay an outsider, a senator who will tell the truth and fight like hell to make a difference. I’m no professional politician, and I know I’m in for a tough fight, but you know, that’s what I’ve been doing on behalf of honest citizens like all of you for the past 25 years.”