The list of endangered Democrats bailing on their party’s nominating convention this year notched another name when a spokesman for John Barrow said this week the Georgia pol had made alternate plans during the festivities in nearby Charlotte, North Carolina.
Barrow spox Richard Carbo told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution the Augusta congressman would not attend because he was “planning a number of events throughout [the] district that time.”
Rep. Barrow served as a super delegate for then-Senator Obama at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, but has made the apparent calculation that his presence at this year’s event–wherein the president is slated to be renominated as his party’s standard bearer–was too great a liability.
Considered a top target by the National Republican Congressional Committee, Barrow faces a tough reelection bid after GOP mapmakers skewed his district more conservative than previous cycles. The group has already reserved nearly $1 million in air time for this fall’s contest in the Savannah and Augusta television markets.
The growing list of House Democrats who’ve rejected the president’s invitation include: Reps. Barrow, Nick Rahall (WV), Mark Critz (PA), Kathy Hochul (NY), Bill Owens (NY), Jim Matheson (UT).
But national Democrats charged with preserving, or expanding when possible, the party’s margins in Congress are running interference for these vulnerable incumbents.
“If they want to win an election, they need to be in their districts,” New York Democratic Rep. Steve Israel, who steers his party’s House campaign committee, told Reuters on Tuesday. “I think [candidates] should be in their districts.”
Still, Georgia Republicans are already counting coup.
“As John Barrow will find out in November, the voters in Georgia’s 12th Congressional District are all-too-familiar with his doublespeak and political gamesmanship,” GAGOP spokesman Chris Kelleher said Wednesday. “In 2010, Rep. Barrow was eager to be ‘working hand in hand with President Obama to create jobs and turn the economy around.’ Unfortunately, their teamwork hasn’t quite achieved the accomplishments that they worked together towards.
“As unemployment remains stagnantly above 8%, our national debt approaches $16T and consumer confidence falls for the fourth consecutive month, John is having a tough time backing away from the Barrow-Obama record.”
- James Richardson