National Journal ranks Georgia District 12 as 14th most likely Congressional seat to change partisan control

National Journal has ranked the 75 Congressional seats most likely to switch from one political party to another this fall.

The Georgia District 12 seat now held by Democrat John Barrow of Savannah Augusta is ranked the 14th most likely to change hands:

Republican state legislators targeted Barrow via redistricting earlier in his career, and he survived. The latest attempt planted the Blue Dog Democrat in a solidly conservative seat, though, and he’ll have a major challenge on his hands against whoever emerges from a bruising, contested Republican primary. Centrist Democratic groups are already on TV in Savannah praising Barrow’s moderate record, but Republicans will counter in the fall with clips of Barrow claiming to have worked “hand in hand” with Obama during a tough Democratic primary in 2010. That could be enough to unseat Barrow in a district where Obama might struggle to top 40 percent of the vote.

I have long thought that Barrow was virtually certain to lose this fall because of the conservative lean of the newly drawn district, but after watching tonight’s debate among the four prospective Republican challengers, I’d say there’s definitely hope for Barrow. More on that when the video of the debate is posted online.

Of the 75 seats deemed by National Journal as most likely to change parties, just over half are currently held by Republicans.


  1. Hey Bill, I must respectfully disagree with your comment regarding Barrow’s chances for reelection. I don’t think he has much of a chance. I mean the district lines have changed so dramatically that this new 12th district is leaning about 60% Republican. Barrow’s democratic stronghold in Savannah was taken out, which means the only real beacon of support he may garner will come from Richmond County. Now, I realize you are implying that the Republican candidates don’t come across to you as the best “debaters” in the arena compared to John Barrow. However, I think that this whole hoopla about debates and their effectiveness is far overrated. Republicans in this new district are NOT going to vote for Barrow…it doesn’t matter how great he can talk. The conservatives no longer trust the fast-talking, smooth politicians, and we have seen the result of electing those polished candidates with no prior experience, and no record to speak of. Not to mention that Barrow does not have many ties with this district, considering his hometown of Savannah was cut out. Also, considering the OBAMA-MANIA has dwindled, and that most undecided voters will lean towards the challenger versus the incumbent, I have no doubt that the Republican candidate (whomever he may be) will defeat Barrow. Not to mention, that the Republican National Convention has already promised about $900,000 worth of television and radio ad time for the nominee in this particular race. Bottom Line: Debates don’t win elections.

    • Bill Dawers says:

      My impressions go well beyond debating skills. I was struck by both a lack of passion and a lack of substance in many of the responses. But I’ll watch it again when the video is posted at GPB and the Atlanta Press Club sites. No matter how it plays out, I can pretty much guarantee that Barrow and his strategists will make a better play for those undecideds than you’re assuming. It’s still an uphill climb, of course.

      • Right, I see your point there. Passion is important. We got ta amp ’em up!

        But you know, I didn’t think they had much time to provide much substance to their statements. What was it about 30 seconds for a response? It probably takes them about 20 seconds to get their brain in gear for the question. But I certainly see what you mean.

          • Bill…Bill…what is your point? Is there something wrong with being straight to the point? That’s all he needed to say! It’s refreshing. For once, we have a candidate (LEE ANDERSON) who doesn’t attempt to put on a bunch of spin in his rhetoric. “NO” is a good old solid answer. That’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout!

  2. Btw, my statement above: “The conservatives no longer trust the fast-talking, smooth politicians, and we have seen the result of electing those polished candidates with no prior experience, and no record to speak of.” –yeah that statement…I’m referring to the three republican candidates in this race besides Lee Anderson. 😉

    Lee Anderson is a straight-shooter when it comes to debates and formal speeches. He doesn’t go in circles with his rhetoric like the attorneys in this race, namely Wright McLeod and Maria Sheffield, which makes Lee much easier to understand to voters. Also, Anderson has experience balancing a government budget, cutting government spending, and working with other public officials, unlike Rick Allen (with all due respect).

    For the sake of strategic analysis, I think since Lee Anderson has such great ties with Columbia County and the other 50% of this new district, which is made up of primarily rural communities, he has the best name recognition and support throughout the district. He resonates with the majority of folks in this district, being a farmer and a current state representative, along with his service in numerous agricultural ventures and organizations. I believe based on these ties, Anderson has the best shot of defeating Barrow in a landslide.

    Anderson has also stated explicitly that he intends to bring some common-sense back to Washington…advocating for a Balanced Budget Amendment, repealing Obamacare, and supporting the Fair Tax as a replacement for the Federal Income Tax. These are all very appealing goals to aim for that most Republicans within this district appreciate. Anderson’s message is bold but clear –To balance the national budget, and to send Congressman John Barrow and President Barack Obama back home. Sounds good to me! 🙂

  3. southernpol says:

    I have no dog in the fight.. and I agree with Bill. I’m wondering if ‘The Campaign’ is a movie or the 12th congressional race…

    McLeod would get the nomination fairly easily just based on appearance and how well spoken he is. Except it’s pretty clear by his voting record ( that he is a democrat.

    If Rick Allen could work on his public speaking, he’d probably be a lock.

    • Holy Mother! Folks, you guys are missing the big picture here. Are ya’ll telling me that the folks in this district vote solely based on appearance and talk alone? I DON’T THINK SO! Listen, Republicans are tired of these pretty boys with their law degrees slowly but surely depriving us our basic freedoms. And, if you and Bill vote for candidates based off of how they “appear,” it ain’t no wonder our country is going down hill. I mean come on, really?

      Rick Allen, Wright McLeod, and Maria Sheffield are barely known if at all outside of Columbia and Richmond County. Lee Anderson has been workin’ it all around.


  4. ten wins says:

    I guess that we should do away with the Constitution by the way that I hear people talk about attys. If my memory serves me correctly most of the signers of that greatest of all documents were attys. And what is wrong with attys. anyway? Aren’t the people we send up there called “law makers”? If more off them were attys. they might get it right the first time and not have to ” have to go back in three years and fix it” (Lee Anderson News Channel 12 debate.

  5. ten wins says:

    As I go back in history I found litterraly dozens of attys. who served in the military and still found the time to become famous as landmark law making Congressman. What is wrong with getting a good education. Are Local and State politics considered a basis for sending men and women to service for their country?

    • Harry says:

      According to, in the preceding Congress there were 162 lawyers out of 441, or 36%.

    • Harry says:

      In the Senate, in the preceding Congress there were 162 lawyers out of 441, or 36%.

      Also by the way, Barrow is a lawyer.

        • ten wins says:

          I am referencing to history as far as lawyers are concerned. Thank you for the numbers though. But as with any profession including pastors, priest, etc. there are good and bad PEOPLE in those positions. There are croked FARMERS and CONTRACTORS out there as well and the candidate who wants to throw stones at professions needs to make sure his own is without blemish!!! Why don’t they focus instead on the ISSUES and BARROWS problematic record instead of trashing and ruining the GOP chances for unseating Barrow. Barrow will do plenty of that when the time comes and we don’t need to be adding fuel to the fire for him by putting a bad taste in or voters mouth before hand!!!

  6. TheEiger says:

    Well the sock puppets are out in force. Anyone want to guess if BillyBob works for the Lee campaign? And whether you like it or not “looks” and speaking ability have a lot to do with getting elected. Just look at Obama.

    Don’t try to convince me to vote for Lee. I have already made up my mind. I live in Cobb County so I will be voting for Maria.

      • ten wins says:

        Thats what I LOVE about this country, we all have a choice and a voice. My vote counts just as much as Bill Gates vote.!! Just vote Calypso!! Maria is very smart and will make a great run legislator sometime, I just don’t believe this will be her year. I WILL consider her sometime in the future!!!! She has it together pretty well.

        • Calypso says:

          I think you missed the joke. The Eiger said he lives in Cobb County and will be voting for Maria.

          There’s been lots of fun poked at her because when she announced for this congressional seat, she still lived NW of Atlanta, considerably outside the district (I know you are not required to live inside the district for which you are seeking).

          She moved inside the district recently and talked about her ‘deep roots’ in the area. The Eiger is again joshing that he’s voting for her even though he lives in Cobb.

  7. saltycracker says:

    Gerrymandering works ! It’s ALIVE !

    Gerrymandering being any political districting other than by concentrically or geographically connected and unsubdivided zip codes, towns, cities, counties, regional trade areas, states……

  8. ricstewart says:

    Anybody else feel like the comments section here is turning into the comments section at AJC Political Insider lately?

    • ten wins says:

      I’m not from Atl. so I don’t read it. But I’m sure we all have some “ax to grind” or we wouldn’t be making comments on a blog site wold we?

  9. ten wins says:

    And for full disclosure, I am helping an undisclosed candidate in a very minor role, but I know the candidate personally and I am acquainted with another and have meet and spoke briefly with the other 2. I think they all have the best of intentions, just as many of their predecessors have. I am voting for and working for my candidate because I know the personal values that drive that person and agree with their political stances for the most part…not all of them, but more than the other three. I also believe that if the people of the 12th would take the time to really get to know that person and their values they would line up behind them to unseat the sitting very LIBERAL leaning Barrow.
    That is what we need to be focusing on and not what type of job the person holds or other non-issues.



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