John Barrow won a fifth term representing the 12th Congressional District on Tuesday by handily defeating state Rep. Lee Anderson.
With all 19 counties that make up the district reporting, Barrow had 54 percent of the votes. Anderson, a Grovetown farmer, conceded late Tuesday night.
“The people have spoken,” he said during his concession. “I’d like to thank all of you. We’re here not as politicians, but as servants, and that’s what we plan to continue to do.”
In his victory speech, Barrow said his win was proof that residents voted on the issues rather than by party.
“That is the only hope for our country, that members of Congress can do the same thing and look beyond the labels and focus on the issues we have in common,” Barrow said. “If the members of Congress would take the cue from the voters of the 12th District, we could actually get something done in the U.S. House of Representatives.”
Richmond County was key to Barrow’s victory in the redrawn district. The Democrat won 72 percent of the votes in the largest county in the district, getting more than 55,000 votes.
Barrow had an uphill battle in defending his seat. The 12th District was redrawn by Georgia Republicans last year for the second time in his eight-year tenure, this time excluding his Savannah Democratic base and replacing it with most of Republican-leaning Columbia County and the remainder of Richmond County.
Barrow bought a house on Wheeler Road in March.
The redrawn 12th District includes only two counties – Richmond and Burke – that favored President Obama in 2008 and shifted the voting-age population from 45 percent black to just 33 percent black.
The east Georgia district’s counties are Appling, Bulloch, Burke, Candler, Coffee, Columbia, Effingham, Emanuel, Evans, Jeff Davis, Jenkins, Laurens, Montgomery, Richmond, Screven, Tattnall, Toombs, Treutlen and Wheeler.
At Barrow’s victory party, supporters chanted his name and took turns hugging the congressman in relief and excitement.
“This means we have another great representative in the U.S. Congress,” Tyler Horne said. “John is very in-tune with his district and represents their needs in an ever-polarized environment.”
Pastor Joseph Hall said Barrow’s victory is a win for all residents of the 12th District – from minorities to the elderly to the upper class. Barrow, Hall said, has based his time in office around representing the needs of the community on an issue-by-issue basis and has a genuine interest in the future of the community.
“All the hard work paid off,” Hall said. “He has done a lot of good and helped a lot of people. He will continue to do that.”
Anderson said that his only regret was that he hadn’t taken the time to meet more of the people he had wanted to represent. He said the business of politics precluded him from spending as much time as he should have talking to the constituents of District 12.
“That’s the only thing I would have done differently,” he said. “I would have gotten out and seen more people. Grass roots, that’s what I am. I wish I had been able to spend more time doing that and less time on the phone raising money. People need to see the person, not a television ad.”