From the GOP grapevine: Former Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr has told friends that he’s contemplating an attempted return to Congress – and a return to the Republican fold.
Barr, a longtime resident of Cobb County, would challenge U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ranger – a tea party favorite. In August, the Legislature redrew Graves’ district to include heavily populated Floyd and Paulding counties – which now make up 38 percent of the electorate.
Barr has told acquaintances that he would move to Paulding. We put a call into his office this morning, but have not heard back. However, Barr has a Saturday, Oct. 22 appearance before a Paulding County tea party group called “We The People.”
Barr has been out of Congress for nearly a decade. After his district was injected with a substantial number of Democrats in 2001, the four-term Barr decided to challenge U.S. Rep. John Linder, R-Duluth, in an August 2002 primary. Barr lost.
Phil Gingrey, R-Marietta, stepped into Barr’s district and has held it ever since.
As a Republican, Barr was a fervent barn-burner – and helped lead the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. But after leaving Congress, he joined the Libertarian party, becoming its presidential nominee in 2008.
In the process, Barr campaigned against what he saw were excesses of the Patriot Act, and has argued for an end to the Defense of Marriage Act – which he once sponsored, and which allows states to ignore the marriages of gay couples permitted elsewhere.
From a 2009 op-ed piece:
In effect, DOMA’s language reflects one-way federalism: It protects only those states that don’t want to accept a same-sex marriage granted by another state. Moreover, the heterosexual definition of marriage for purposes of federal laws – including, immigration, Social Security survivor rights and veteran’s benefits – has become a de facto club used to limit, if not thwart, the ability of a state to choose to recognize same-sex unions.
Even more so now than in 1996, I believe we need to reduce federal power over the lives of the citizenry and over the prerogatives of the states. It truly is time to get the federal government out of the marriage business. In law and policy, such decisions should be left to the people themselves.
Two Republicans already have expressed interest in challenging Graves: Steve Tarvin of Chickamauga, who ran against Graves last year, and Jerry Shearin, the former Paulding County commission chairman.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider