Monday, September 21, 2009

How Vulnerable Is Blue Dog John Barrow To Defeat In 2010?


After Barrow was redistricted out of his home base in liberal Athens he moved down to Savannah to try to make a presence in the newly gerrymandered 12th congressional district. The PVI there is D+1.24, so it's a Democratic-leaning district. Obama, while losing Georgia 52-47%, won the 12th District by a healthy 55.3-44.2% margin. Barrow wound up with 66% of the vote in the general election, with overwhelming support from African-Americans, who make up 44.8% of the population. Barrow had been an early backer of Obama, and in return Obama cut a radio spot for him that Barrow used to turn out the African-American and the youth vote, where enthusiasm for Obama was as gigantic as it was tepid for Barrow. It certianly helped Barrow win in the primary against an until-then-undefeated state senator, Regina Thomas.

Senator Thomas is as much a fighter for ordinary working families-- it's what she's based her entire career on-- as Barrow is a fighter for special interests and powerful corporations. After Obama gave Barrow the radio spot to use, Thomas had virtually no chance against him.

This morning Research 2000 released brand-new polling numbers on GA-12 that seem to show some serious trouble for Barrow. The congressman, as a way of appealing to conservative-leaning white voters, has been one of the least loyal Democrats in Congress to Obama's agenda. On substantive matters he has voted far more frequently with the GOP than with his own party. His ProgressivePunch score for the current House session is a dismal 31.71 (out of 100), identical to reactionaries like Chis Carney and Heath Shuler, both of whom, unlike Barrow, live in very Republican districts. (Carney's district's PVI is R +8.47 and Shuler's is R +6.27.)

Let's look how the 2010 primary is shaping up, where Barrow will likely be on his own-- with a very anti-family record to defend. He's probably going to be facing Regina Thomas again, and this time he's unlikely to have Obama running interference for him. Among GA-12 Democrats Obama has a 78% approval rating and an 18% disapproval. Barrow, on the other hand, is getting better known by his constituents-- and they don't like his record one bit. Among Democrats his approval rating is only 49% and his unfavorable rating is 33%.

Recall that Barrow was one of only 3 Blue Dogs who voted against health care reform on the House Energy and Commerce Committee-- reform that had been worked out by... the Blue Dogs! He's widely considered one of the worst bad-faith players in Congress, and voters back home are starting to recognize it. Among those voters back home, 77% of the district's Democrats favor Obama's health care plan and 47%, a plurality, disapprove of Barrow's actions on health care.

If the general election were held today, Barrow would probably lose; only 32% say they are prepared to vote for him again. But it's the primary where he will face his well-deserved political armageddon. Oh, and by the way, Democrats in GA-12 say they would be even less likely to vote for Barrow in 2010 if he opposes a public option, which he has already pledged to oppose.

Regina Thomas hasn't declared her candidacy yet. She's still talking it over with her family and friends and people in the district who have been urging her to run. Because she hasn't filed any FEC paperwork, ActBlue can't start a committee for her. However, we have the BadDogs page at Blue America, and rest assured, John Barrow will be a big priority there for 2010.

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At 1:11 PM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Doc's right! Put them to sleep here!

At 3:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stupid liberals. John Barrow is an excellent Congressman who represents his constituents well. He is the most liberal person who could hope to be elected in that district. If we decide, as we Democrats did in the early 1990's, that we should purge everyone from the party who isn't a far left liberal we will end up with --- and richly deserve --- what we get, a republican majority. Do you suppose a republican member of Congress from the 12th District of Georgia will have a better voting record? Grow up.

At 6:09 PM, Anonymous Balakirev said...

"If we decide, as we Democrats did in the early 1990's..."

Except that, you know, that never happened. The Democratic Party never instituted a purge of its Blue Dogs at that time. They pretty much did back in the late 60's and early 70s, what with legislation that drove many Southern Democrats up the wall and over to the Republicans, but there's been no purge since. Perhaps you're thinking of the Republicans under Gingrich, who instituted a purge of liberal Republicans in the 1990s, followed by the purge of moderate Republicans under the reign of King Limbaugh?

At 3:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Barrow is one of the WORST congressmen in the House. He is a democrat in name only. He must be voted OUT!

At 4:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Barrow has a 73% lifetime score on Progressive Punch,, pretty good score despite the 12th district being so conservative.

At 7:31 AM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

The district is not as conservative as you make it sound. Barrow is one of the only Blue Dogs in a district that went for Obama who votes more frequently with the Republicans on substantive matters than with the Democrats. As far as your ProgressivePunch stats, they refer to everything including non-issues like mundane housekeeping matters; the one we use here is the statistic that refers to substantive issues before the House. In that case, Barrow's lifetime score is not 73.00 but 55.69-- and since Obama was elected president Barrow has swung radically towards the GOP and his score this year is a dismal 31.71.

At 7:33 AM, Blogger tybeeliz said...

Based on the reaction of his constituents at the Chatham County Democratic Committee meeting in Savannah last night, John Barrow will not be receiving the support of many local Dems in any upcoming elections. John Barrow was present at the meeting and actually tried to defend his vote by saying that the bill wasn't "Good" or Strong Enough. No one bought his used car salesman act. he is gone baby gone!!!


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