A write-in challenge could endanger "Blue Dog" Democrat Rep. John Barrow's prospects of re-election in Georgia's 12th District, David Weigel reports:
On Monday, former State Senator Regina Thomas will file papers to run as an official write-in candidate against Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.), a more conservative Democrat who beat her in the 2008 and 2010 primaries. Official status will allow votes for her to be counted as she runs a regular campaign. Barrow is white, Thomas is black, but Barrow has been successful up to now in winning enough black votes to fend off his challenger.
The history of GA-12, a new district created after the 2000 Census, is that Republicans tend to do well in mid-terms, while Democrats perform strongly in presidential election years. Barrow should be vulnerable this year and having a black liberal independent candidate in a district where 44% of voters are black would heighten that vulnerability.
Republican nominee Ray McKinney, who won 62% of the vote in Tuesday's GOP primary runoff, speaks well of Thomas.
"I've known Ms. Thomas for years," McKinney said in a phone interview Friday afternoon. "She's honest. She's direct. What you see is what you get, and that's something you have to respect."
McKinney (whose campaign in GA-12 was profiled here in April) said he thinks Thomas should be included in any debates with Barrow.
Thomas got 14,000 votes in the July 20 Democratic primary against Barrow. Even if she gets only a fraction of that as a write-in candidate Nov. 2, it could be enough to keep the Democrat nominee from getting a majority, and Georgia law would then require a runoff. With control of the House possibly hinging on the outcome, GA-12 might become one of the most closely watched districts in the country this fall.