GA 12 Congressional Race Certified – Barrow Wins

The election results in GA-12 have been certified and John Barrow has won by a very slim margin.  Essentially, John Barrow won reelection by 864 votes, which is a margin of 3/10 of 1%. 

Max Burns has 48 hours to decide whether or not to launch a recount of the vote. 

It’s worth noting that Burns first won the Republican nomination in 2002 against Barbara Dooley in a very tight race and many, including Burns, pushed hard for Dooley to forgo a recount.  It is tough to lose a close race and I hate to see Burns go down like this, but I don’t know that the results are going to change enough to close the gap. 

The lesson here is that you can’t abandon the urban centers of Savannah-Chatham County and Augusta-Richmond County and win the 12th Congressional District. 


  1. Neither party can afford to ignore voters anywhere in a district like this. Look at the rural counties that were in the old 12th as well as the new 12th, Barrow improved on his 2004 performance by anywhere from 1% to 5% in these areas.

    Take just Bulloch and Effingham counties. Had Barrow gotten the same percentage in Bulloch and Effingham that he got in 2004, he would have lost 550 more net votes in Bulloch and 656 net votes in Screven. That is way more than his 864 vote margin over Burns, so you can see how important these rural areas were for Barrow…even though he didn’t win them he was able to focus on getting enough extra votes out to put him over the top.

    This also makes me think that if they had the rematch in the “old” 12th district Barrow would have gotten close to 55% of the vote, but that is a story for another day.

    Bull Moose, I’d be interested, are you implying by this post that Burns ignored voters in Richmond and Chatham, or are you just trying to make a point that just because Effingham County may like you (or in the case of Jim Nelson Telfair County) that doesn’t entitle you to a seat in Congress?

  2. I guess you could also say that based on the evidence available (Barrow increasing his share of the vote in every county in the district) the only guys who Barrow “lost” votes from where the old dudes in the Burns commercials.

  3. rightofcenter says:

    As someone who did some volunteer work with the Burns campaign, I don’t think Burns ignored anybody. He and his staff worked harder than anybody I’ve ever seen. I would put the difference in this campaign in Barrow’s demagogic television commercial on the so-called Max Tax. It was pure BS, put it undoubtedly swung enough votes to win it for Barrow.

    A second thing that probably cost Max a few votes (or at least a little momentum and enthusiasm) was the unfortunate fact that several thousand people gave up several hours of their day thinking they were going to get to see the president, but didn’t get in the arena. A small thing, yes, but in a contest decided by 864 votes, small things matter.

    Another interesting question many people have been asking: if the Repubs were going to redistrict this district (as well as the 8th) to make it more attractive for Max, why did they do such a poor job of it? Surely they could have put 5,000 more Democratic voters in Kingston’s and/or Norwood’s districts without hurting them any. I assure you Bobby Kahn and King Roy would have not done such a half-ass job at gerrymandering.

  4. Rightofcenter, you are correct, we would have done a better job. This is how I look at it: Republicans got greedy, and Mac Collins is probably to blame. They just had to make a district for Mac Collins, which lets be honest even though it ended up being kind of close he was never going to win. They ended up with a 40% AA district and a 31% AA district. Here is the other thing: the courts don’t care which districts are high % AA, just that they are there. So if you stick Marshall in the 40% AA district, you aren’t going to win that one, but you aren’t going to beat Marshall anyway, then you stick Barrow in the 31% AA district and you have a much better chance.

    Ironically, the Republicans have fared much better under the court drawn “fair” legislative maps than under the Republican drawn Congressional gerrymander. Maybe that is kind of an underhanded endorsement of a neutral process.

  5. rightofcenter says:

    You’re right…….someone got greedy. I’m not close enough to it to know who it was, but Burns wins a 31% AA district with a couple of points to spare.

  6. Bull Moose says:

    What I meant by my comment was that you have to take your message to the urban centers and in their papers.

    You’ve got to be open and available.

    I don’t know that the Burns media campaign included prodominantly African American newspapers, radio shows, or anything similar.

    Plus, there are real issues that affect our urban centers that are right to address. For example, isn’t it the right thing to do to have computer learning centers in public housing so that residents have access to tools for education and career growth and advancement?

    I realize that’s one issue out of a thousand, but all I’m saying is that there is a message that can be delivered to the urban centers of this district that can have swayed the vote a bit.

  7. drjay says:

    in a race this close i suppose every potential vote is/was important but burns only did 3% worse in chatham than he did in 04 (a presidential year where he was the incumbent) and the tweaking of the 12th included the removal of a few precincts he won in 04 and a few “swing districts” in midtown that max won 51-49 in 04 he lost by similar amts this time (power of incumbency??)

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