Jim Galloway has been kind enough to kick off an otherwise slow glide into the weekend with this nugget:
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.
A friend of mine talked to Barr within the hour, and confirms that Barr is considering a bid after being approached by residents of his former district which is now part of the 14th district. While considering, he has made no decision. No timeframe on a formal decision or annoucement was given.
My quick take is this:
1) While the voters of the 14th district are TEA Party faithful fiscal conservatives that would look favorable to Barr’s libertarian limited government positions with respect to budget issues, they are not libertarian with respect to social issues. As Galloway noted, Barr has written many examples of his opinions on social issues that are not likely to sit well with members of the new 14th.
2) While Barr has represented many residents of this district, that was a decade ago. Those not currently represented by Graves are clustered in suburban Paulding County. Suburbs have a somewhat transient nature, and many of today’s Paulding residents weren’t residents when there was last a Congressman Bob Barr.
3) Barr’s last experience as a Republican was challenging a popular sitting Congressman John Linder. While Linder is also now retired, he remains popular as the patron saint of the FairTax. His most recent political activity was as the Presidential nominee for the Libertarian Party, a campaign that eneded with significant debt.
I see items 1-3 presenting a problem for Barr running against a TEA Party incumbent with a voting record that matches the desires of most of the 14th district. Some see Graves as vulnerable because of his personal financial issues and because he has picked up new population centers in Floyd and Paulding counties, which may have different priorities than those expressed by the TEA Party.
That said, I see great diffuculty with anyone taking Graves out of this seat without the express endorsement of Congressman Phil Gingrey, and I would estimate the chances of that at less than zero.