Republican candidates seeking Barrow's District 12 seat discuss change

Five Republicans seeking a chance to unseat U.S. Rep. John Barrow avoided criticizing each other Thursday night, instead focusing on so-called failures in the Obama administration and ways to fix the nation’s economy.


At the third of four debates in the primary campaign, former congressional aide John Stone said the regional economy cannot grow without two new interstates, five new nuclear reactors at Savannah River Site and growth at Fort Gordon.

“We need to get our infrastructure in place and start building our economy and jobs in this district with specific projects,” Stone said.

Construction company owner Rick Allen said leaders must focus on creating a trained workforce to attract employers, deepening the Savannah, Ga., port and building an truck-rail freight transfer facility on Interstate 20.

“Our state cannot afford to maintain interstates,” Allen said.

Eugene Yu, the founder of a now-defunct military contracting company, said he’d help bring back manufacturing jobs from overseas; Diane Vann, a nurse from Macon, Ga., wants to deregulate farming; and state Rep. Delvis Dutton, of Glennville, Ga., said
the district needs to capitalize on its proximity to the Savannah port to boost the economy.

Allen and Stone, both of Augusta, have been running full time since last summer for the GOP nomination to take on Barrow, the Deep South’s last white Democratic congressman.

Dutton and Yu joined the race in the past two months for the May 20 primary.

Allen began airing a 30-second ad Wednesday citing the Bible and accusing President Obama of “immoral spending.”

“We hired a community organizer for our president. How’s that working out? Our country’s in a mess. That’s what I say in my ad,” Allen said at the debate.

Asked why she should be elected, Vann said she would work to impeach Obama, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

“I think they are poison in the system,” Vann said.

Dutton said he would continue his “proven conservative, constitutional record” from serving four years as state representative.

Eugene Yu, also from Augusta, said he would change the GOP image while fixing a broken Washington.

The Republican candidates will meet for their final debate May 1 in Coffee County.

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