This year, Barrow, a former county commissioner from Athens, and Marshall, a former mayor of Macon, were left with districts that had fewer registered Democrats. Barrow even had to leave Athens, his longtime hometown and, as the home of the University of Georgia, a Democratic redoubt, because it was left out of the boundaries of his redrawn 12th District. He moved to Savannah in January.
In November, Barrow will again face off against Max Burns, a conservative farmer who served in the House for one term before being defeated by Barrow in 2004. In the 8th District, Marshall is facing Mac Collins, a trucking entrepreneur who was a congressman from 1993 to 2003 and lost a bid for U.S. Senate in 2004.
Barrow and Marshall call themselves conservative Democrats — and point to their routine flouting of the party line. Both voted for the strict House bill addressing illegal immigration, both oppose gay marriage and both oppose set timelines for a withdrawal from Iraq.
Perhaps as a result, their Republican rivals have emphasized the bigger picture in their campaigns — namely, what would happen if the Democrats took control of the house. In a recent Collins TV ad, his opponent isn’t mentioned at all. Instead, the ad targets House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), who would presumably become House Speaker with a Democratic majority.
The ad says Pelosi would give “amnesty” to illegal aliens, doling out “welfare, food stamps and free education.”
“How do we stop her?” the ad says. “Elect Mac Collins.”
In a recent news release, Burns’ camp also points to the alleged perils of a Pelosi-led Congress, noting her opposition to the National Security Administration’s wiretapping program.
“At a time when our country needs to clearly remain on the offense against terrorists, John Barrow supports leaders who want to retreat and take away the programs necessary to win the global War on Terror,” Burns said in the release.