Valdosta Daily Times

National, International News

May 21, 2013

Several Republicans weigh challenge to Barrow

SAVANNAH — Now that Rep. John Barrow has turned down a campaign for the U.S. Senate, the challenge ahead for the Deep South’s last white Democratic congressman will be to defy the odds a second time by winning re-election in an eastern Georgia district that was drawn to ensure his defeat.

With the 2014 primaries more than a year away, several Republicans are taking a hard look at opposing Barrow in the 12th District that sprawls across 19 mostly rural counties and includes the cities of Augusta, Statesboro, Dublin and Vidalia. One GOP candidate says he’ll be running full-time as of June, and others pondering the race said they will probably make up their minds this summer.

Barrow’s re-election to a fifth term in November was a big upset for Republicans after GOP state lawmakers redrew the district in 2011 to carve out Savannah — Barrow’s home and Democratic base — and replace it with mostly rural, conservative communities. Barrow moved to Augusta and spent more than $2.8 million on a campaign that cast him as an independent who’s pro-gun and often at odds with President Barack Obama. He defeated Republican state Rep. Lee Anderson of Grovetown with a commanding 54 percent of the vote — a margin made possible only by thousands of Mitt Romney voters crossing party lines to support Barrow.

“I know it wasn’t a fluke,” Barrow said in an interview last week. “The vast majority of American voters are dissatisfied with the (party) brands and call themselves independents. They want to judge the goods on the merits.”

Barrow raised a daunting $436,000 during the first three months of the year as the congressman weighed a possible campaign for the seat of GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss, whose planned retirement next year has drawn a crowded field of would-be Republican successors but, so far, no Democrats.

The Democrat’s decision to pass on a Senate bid may ultimately scare away some Republican challengers. Augusta attorney Wright McLeod, who unsuccessfully sought the GOP nomination in a crowded primary last year, said he’s “on the fence” about running again. He suspects Barrow will be even tougher to beat in 2014 and says that’s giving him second thoughts about entering the race.

“Anybody that says it doesn’t is either lying or an idiot,” said McLeod, who sees only one upshot to Barrow seeking re-election to the House. “Hopefully it’ll keep some Republican candidates on the sidelines.”

State Sen. Tommie Williams, a Republican from Lyons, said he’s “seriously looking” at the congressional race. He said he’s not worried about battling Barrow, but questions if it’s worth going to Washington amid the current partisan gridlock.

John Stone, a veteran Republican aide on Capitol Hill who worked for the late Rep. Charlie Norwood and former Rep. Max Burns, has resigned from his current job as chief of staff to Texas Rep. John Carter so he can return to Georgia and run full-time for Barrow’s seat. It’s a comeback bid for Stone, who ran in the old 12th District in 2008 and suffered a crushing defeat. Barrow beat him by 32 percentage points.

Stone chalks up his loss more than four years ago to record Democratic turnout for Obama’s first presidential race as well as a lack of support from the national Republican Party. He said it should be a different story for Republicans seeking to oust Barrow next year — as long as they don’t blow their chances with a nasty, expensive GOP primary. Some blame a bruising, four-way Republican primary last year for giving Barrow the edge he needed to win.

“We had an absolutely awful primary in the Republican side, the typical circular firing squad we tend to do,” Stone said. “I don’t want to spend all our money on the primary before we get a chance at Barrow.”

An option, though not a likely one, would be for the GOP to agree on a nominee internally (and largely behind the scenes). Stone confirmed he’s been calling McLeod and other potential Republican candidates and asking them to stand down and let him have the Republican nomination unopposed.

Augusta businessman Rick W. Allen, who also may run again for Barrow’s seat after an unsuccessful GOP primary campaign last year, wasn’t too impressed with Stone’s offer.

“It was a shocker because, frankly, John Barrow beat John Stone by 32 points last time,” Allen said. “And I asked him, ‘How do you think you’re going to do better this time?”’

Allen paid handsomely to be the Republican runner-up in the primaries last year, when he spent $610,000 of his own money before losing a runoff.

Allen’s not letting his own financial losses stop him from considering a comeback race. He planned to meet with party leaders and key supporters during last weekend’s Republican state convention in Athens. Allen said he would likely to make up his mind soon afterward.

The National Republican Congressional Committee has named Barrow among seven House Democrats it considers the most vulnerable in 2014. NRCC staff are being dedicated full-time to helping defeat them.

Barrow insists he’s not worrying now about a race that’s still a year away.

“There’s a time for campaigning and this definitely isn’t it,” he said. “The best way to apply to be rehired for a job like this is to work harder at it than anybody else.”

 

1
Text Only
National, International News
  • Boston Marathon Bombi_Rich copy.jpg Questions linger year after Boston Marathon bombs

    A surveillance video shows a man prosecutors say is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev placing a bomb near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, just yards from where an 8-year-old boy was killed when it exploded.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • AP120401029 copy.jpg Today in History for Tuesday, April 15, 2014

    Today is Tuesday, April 15, the 105th day of 2014. There are 260 days left in the year.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Space Station_Rich copy.jpg NASA OKs space station visit despite dead computer

    NASA is pressing ahead with Monday’s planned launch of a supply ship despite a critical computer outage at the International Space Station, promising the situation is safe.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fatal Shooting Kansas_Rich copy.jpg 3 dead after suburban Kansas City shooting

    A man opened fire outside a Jewish community center on Sunday, killing two people before driving over to a retirement community a few blocks away and killing someone else, authorities said.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Seven Dead Babies Arr_Rich(1) copy.jpg Utah woman arrested after 7 dead babies found

    A Utah woman accused of killing several babies she gave birth to over 10 years was arrested Sunday after police discovered seven tiny bodies stuffed in separate cardboard boxes in the garage of her former home.
    Megan Huntsman, 39, who lived in the Pleasant Grove home until three years ago, had the infants between 1996 and 2006, investigators said.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • AP110714053482 copy.jpg Today in History for Monday, April 14, 2014

    Today is Monday, April 14, the 104th day of 2014. There are 261 days left in the year. The Jewish holiday Passover begins at sunset.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • APTOPIX Range Showdow_Rich copy.jpg Feds release cows gathered in Nevada roundup

    Federal land managers confirmed Saturday that they released all 400 or so head of cattle rounded up on public land in southern Nevada from a rancher who has refused to recognize their authority.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • APTOPIX Ukraine_Rich copy.jpg Uniformed men occupy Donetsk police HQ

    Men in the uniforms of Ukraine’s now-defunct riot police on Saturday occupied police headquarters in Donetsk, the eastern city that is one of the flashpoints of a wave of pro-Russia protests, hours after armed men seized local police headquarters and a local branch of the Security Service in a nearby city.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Australia Malaysia Pl_Rich copy.jpg Long hunt for missing jet looms as pings go silent

    After a week of optimism over four underwater signals believed to be coming from the missing Malaysian plane, the sea has gone quiet and Australia’s leader is warning that the massive search will likely be long.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • AP82016106626 copy.jpg Today in History for Sunday, April 13, 2014

    Today is Palm Sunday, April 13, the 103rd day of 2014. There are 262 days left in the year.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

What you think about school and workplace rules about Facebook friends?

There have to be rules.
No need for rules, just use common sense.
If people want to be friends, what is the big deal?
Nobody uses Facebook anymore.
     View Results