John Barrow banks $1 million to defend House seat

U.S. Rep. John Barrow, one of Augusta’s newest residents, apparently has supporters willing to bet the Democrat has a shot at surviving in November. From Russ Bynum and the Associated Press:

SAVANNAH, Ga. — With more than six months to go until the fall election, U.S. Rep. John Barrow already has more than $1 million in the bank to defend his eastern Georgia seat after Republican lawmakers redrew the district in hopes of ousting the four-term Democrat.

Campaign finance reports due over the weekend show Barrow, the last white Democrat in Congress from the Deep South, maintaining a large fundraising advantage over four Republicans competing to challenge him in November.

Barrow raised $256,763 in the first three months of 2012, bringing his total haul for the election cycle to $1.4 million. His disclosure report showed the congressman still has $1.04 million unspent — more than four times the bank balance of his closest GOP competitor.

“Can we catch up to him financially? I don’t know,” said Evans attorney Wright McLeod, the Republican who raised the most money during the reporting period. “Can we win? Absolutely.”

Another Republican candidate seeking Barrow’s 12th District seat, Augusta businessman Rick Allen, had the most cash still on hand with $230,858. His total fundraising of $368,162 includes a $100,000 loan of the candidate’s own money. He raised $76,487 from contributors since Jan. 1.

McLeod pulled in $149,704 for the quarter that ended March 31, bringing his overall fundraising total to $284,346. He had $198,982 in the bank.

Allen’s campaign manager, Scott Paradise, said the campaign was pleased that “we’ve brought in the most money.” He said the Allen campaign wasn’t surprised to see Barrow “raising money like crazy.”

“He knows he’s got a lot of problems right now,” Paradise said of the Democratic incumbent.

Barrow’s spokesman, Peyton Bell, said the congressman had no immediate comment on his fundraising.

In November, Barrow is expected to face his toughest campaign in years, and almost certainly the most competitive congressional race in Georgia. The GOP-controlled state Legislature redrew the 12th District last year to carve out Savannah — the congressman’s home and a huge part of his Democratic base.

Barrow moved to Augusta last month to stay within the new district, despite its Republican-leaning demographic shift after political mapmakers replaced Savannah with more conservative rural and suburban communities.

His opponent will be decided after the June 31 GOP primary. Also running are Republican state Rep. Lee Anderson, a Grovetown farmer, who raised $70,340 for the quarter and had less than $48,000 in the bank. Anderson’s campaign manager, Reagan Williams, said the candidate temporarily fell behind in fundraising because he was busy with the three-month legislative session.

GOP contender Maria Sheffield’s report showed her campaign is almost entirely self-funded. She reported raising less than $14,000 from donors and loaned her campaign $100,000 of her own money. Her campaign manager, Kathryn Ballou, said Sheffield is building grassroots support from “main street voters” giving small contributions of $25 or less.

Barrow wasn’t the only incumbent Georgia congressman to report a seven-figure balance in his re-election fund. So did three of his House colleagues, all Republicans. Rep. Jack Kingston of Savannah reported $1.25 million on hand. Rep. Tom Price of Roswell had a balance of $1.64 million. And Rep. Phil Gingrey of Marietta had a whopping $1.93 million in the bank. None of them are expected to face stiff opposition this fall.

Lawmakers redrew Georgia’s House districts based on the 2010 Census. The state gained one new House district in north Georgia centered around Gainesville — the home of Gov. Nathan Deal. It’s a seat that leans heavily Republican, so the GOP primary will be the real contest.

Gainesville State Rep. Doug Collins had $142,849 in bank after raising $84,365 for the quarter. Martha Zoller, who hosts a conservative talk-radio show on Maysville station WXKT, had $34,559 in the bank and raised $72,513 in the same period.

A third Republican candidate in the north Georgia primary, Jackson County Commission chairman Hunter Bicknell, reported raising $4,049 and had $19,682 left unspent.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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21 comments Add your comment

td

April 17th, 2012
9:17 am

The only race in Georgia that is not already decided. The rest of the house races will go exactly as the districts are drawn to either the Republican or Democratic incumbent and the new district will go to the Republican. We have no other statewide elections and Obama will not win the state in the Presidential election.

Centrist

April 17th, 2012
9:23 am

Those Republicans are going to have to spend their campaign money on the nomination primary. It isn’t possible for them to come close to Barrow’s war-chest for the November general election campaign. Both parties will certainly add funds in this show down district, and the Augusta TV station should be the clear winner.

td

April 17th, 2012
9:39 am

As the Dems have repeated over and over again on this blog. Whoever the Republican nominee is will be able to overcome the money advantage of Barrow just because they have an ‘R’ beside their name.

UGA 1999

April 17th, 2012
10:06 am

Boring topic

Curious

April 17th, 2012
10:28 am

I’m curious where Barrow’s money is coming from. You detail how much was raised when, but who were his major contributors? From Georgia or elsewhere?

GaBlue

April 17th, 2012
10:30 am

The DNC has abandoned Georgia. Remember that the next time they call you with an urgent request for money to spend on another state’s congressional candidate. Sure, they make a good case about needing to spend money where there’s a chance to retain house or senate seats. Just fifty dollars, even! It’s soooooooooo important!

Know that they won’t spend a dime of it here to help rescue us from one-party tyranny. We’re on our own.

td

April 17th, 2012
10:46 am

GaBlue

April 17th, 2012
10:30 am

Now that is the best news I have heard in months.

Centrist

April 17th, 2012
10:57 am

td posted “the Republican nominee is will be able to overcome the money advantage of Barrow just because they have an ‘R’ beside their name.”

I’m not so sure. From the little I know about Barrow, he seems to be a moderate/Blue Dog Democrat. Centrists like me don’t have a problem with such, unless they feel compelled to vote party line on liberal issues. Furthermore, his considerable money advantage is likely to sway a lot of voters. Unlike GaBlue, I think the DNC will shovel money to his campaign.

GaBlue

April 17th, 2012
10:57 am

td,

I’m glad you’re thrilled that Georgia remains at the top of every bad list and the bottom of every good one. Bravo! Inferiority achieved. You must be so proud.

Aaron Burr V Mexico

April 17th, 2012
11:00 am

I wouldn’t care if the DNC was spending 50% of their budget in this state. So long as they have an Obama appointee in charge of it, they’re not getting a dime of my money.

No more supporting the Great Capitulator.

WOW

April 17th, 2012
11:01 am

@ Curious you can check the FEC website, the Georgia Secretary of States website, or Open Secrets. They will all have the electronic filings.

Barrow better get as much as he can because no matter how much money he has the Super PAC’s are going to outspend him on behalf of whoever the Republican canididate is,

Aaron Burr V Mexico

April 17th, 2012
11:01 am

“Centrists like me”….that was the best laugh I’ve had all morning. Thanks! :)

GaBlue

April 17th, 2012
11:03 am

Centrist,

You may be right. The DNC might sling some cash Barrow’s way, but only because he already has funding and popularity. They do throw crumbs to the South occasionally, but for the most part, they ignore us like a freckled step child with a stomach bug. Candidates in redder districts can’t even get their phone calls returned, no matter how horrible the incumbent may be.

WOW

April 17th, 2012
11:03 am

@ GA Blue

The DCCC is in charge of raising money for Congressional candidates and they will assist Barrow (although I personally wish they wouldn’t).

WOW

April 17th, 2012
11:05 am

@ Aaron

I understand your frustration, but remember the 80/20 rule. And just look at the alternatives?

Aaron Burr V Mexico

April 17th, 2012
11:09 am

@WOW – This is elementary strategy.

Do the Democrats care about the Greens or the Libertarians?

No. And until we have instant run off voting, they won’t.

Therefore the best way to get the kind of Democrat you want is to vote Republican. Sounds crazy? Maybe it is, but as long as the same milque toast wimps can keep getting reelected, they will keep putting money down the toilet with people like Leiberman or Reid.

It wasn’t until they got desperate that they put Dean in charge. Then they gave it to Kaine, Obama’s flunky. And they’re getting creamed. Obama is doing OK because Axelrod is in charge of his campaign but as we have seen over and over, just because you can make a speech doesn’t mean you can appoint good people and back them up. Part of that, of course, is not instantly firing them the second some idiot dresses up as a pimp and pretends to ‘expose’ your ally.

The alternative? Democrats with guts. Or none at all.

GaBlue

April 17th, 2012
11:18 am

WOW,

Did you get that in writing? The national Democratic organizations (including Organizing for America, Obama’s reelection army), solicit all kinds of money from this state. They also recruit volunteers and put people to work for their causes. “We NEEEEEED you!” They say. “JOIN US!”

Then, when we need something from them…. they act like we never met!

Really?

April 17th, 2012
11:19 am

Georgia Republicans are so bright they voted for Newt during the Primary. There really isn’t much to say after that.

Centrist

April 17th, 2012
11:58 am

@ GaBlue – Georgia has ALWAYS had less income and education compared to most states – it is more agricultural than industrial/ high tech. Blaming Republicans is just partisanship, and ignoring the same circumstances when Democrats were in power (with Republicans blaming them).

The DNC doesn’t discriminate against the South – they simply put money into the close campaigns where they think they can win. The South is now almost solid Republican, so funds only go in a few tight races in this region.

GaBlue

April 17th, 2012
12:07 pm

Centrist,

“Blaming the Republicans” is pretty much the same thing as blaming the Democrats who used to run Georgia. In fact, in many cases, it’s the exact same people. Little has changed.

Are you trying to say that having a TWO-party system is “just partisanship?” You see Mr. Centrist, when there are two viable parties, then our legislators and state leaders actually have to be accountable for their actions, on the threat of being replaced in the next term.

Furthermore, ONLY when there a solid challenge to an incumbent do we see a public discourse about the actual issues. The incumbent is forced to come out into the sunshine and answer questions, defend votes, and debate positions and outcomes. Without opposition, we get “representatives” who spend all their time taking care of themselves and their own. We The People lose.

That’s not reflective of party, that’s reflective of a one-party system, and that’s what we have.

honested

April 17th, 2012
12:30 pm

This should be a good test.
A primary focused mostly in warm months with right wing nuts carping about who is the most ‘conserrrrrrvative’.
The district will get tired of the sophomoric opponent mail and commercials and just re-elect
Barrow.