Out of the frying pan, into the fire.
House Republicans wasted no time in reassuring Georgia Rep. John Barrow that he remains a top-ten turnover target, warning the conservative Democrat Thursday that his decision not to run for Senate means they will devote considerable party resources to finally bouncing him from office.
Until Tuesday, when Barrow made the surprise announcement he would seek reelection to the House, it appeared increasingly likely the blue dog would finally do for Republicans what they’ve proven unable despite millions in outside spending and successive redistricting efforts: eliminate the lone white House Democrat from the Deep South.
But the National Republican Congressional Committee, the campaign arm of House GOPers, showed new resolve in its efforts to defeat Barrow on Thursday with the launch of its Red Zone program.
The new initiative will focus exclusively on defeating 7 vulnerable Democrats, Barrow included, in the coming election.
“It’s not a secret that we’ve gone after these guys, and they keep finding ways to elude us even if they’re in conservative districts,” Annie Kelly, a top shelf GOP operative steering the program, told Politico. “We’re starting early and putting these guys on notice that just because they’ve gotten away doesn’t mean we’re giving up.”
In a statement, a NRCC spokeswoman said Kelly will “have a dedicated staff” whose sole focus will be forcing a turnover in Georgia’s twelfth congressional district.
Other Red Zone targets include: Ann Kirkpatrick and Ron Barber of Arizona, Mike McIntyre of North Carolina, Nick Rahall of West Virginia, and Collin Peterson of Minnesota.
- James Richardson