ATLANTA — The Augusta businessman who lost a runoff for the Republican nomination last year to challenge Democratic U.S. Rep. John Barrow announced Tuesday that he is making another attempt.
Rick Allen defeated two other candidates to make the primary runoff but lost to state Rep. Lee Anderson, whom Barrow defeated in the general election.
Picking up on themes from his previous campaign, Allen said the federal government under Democratic control imposes regulations that hinder business owners from expanding employment.
“We need the federal government to stay out of our way and let people help people and businesses create jobs. Sadly, John Barrow believes in the centralized, bureaucratic model of big national government,” Allen said in a statement released by his campaign.
Barrow represents the 12th District, which Republicans in the state Legislature have repeatedly reshaped to tilt toward a GOP challenger. Some observers blame last year’s outcome on Anderson’s weak speech-making skills and a heated race for sheriff in Allen’s home county of Richmond that drew his supporters to the Democratic primary.
The National Republican Congressional Committee and conservative political action committees have already announced plans to target Barrow.
The other announced GOP challenger, John Stone, issued a statement shortly after Allen’s inviting him to debate next month on immigration. Stone, who lost to Barrow in 2008, proposed other topics for the following months.
“It is important that voters get a good taste of where we stand on the major issues, and there is no better way to accomplish that than with frequent broadcast debates in depth on the challenges facing our district and nation,” Stone said.