Local congressman's district might see changes

GOP lawmakers look at ways to alter John Barrow's district

Saturday, July 30, 2011 7:32 AM
Last updated 7:35 AM

U.S. Rep. John Barrow isn’t calling a moving company — at least not yet.

Rep. John Barrow: His current 12th District represents much of the Augusta area.  Morris News Service
Morris News Service
Rep. John Barrow: His current 12th District represents much of the Augusta area.

But lawmakers are toying with the idea of remapping his home into a Republican-leaning district represented by GOP Rep. Jack Kingston.

A draft redistricting map puts all of Chatham County — including Savannah, where Democrat Barrow lives — in Kingston’s 1st District.

It’s one of several congressional district maps being circulated as legislators prepare for an Aug. 15 special session.

They’ll convene for the politically sensitive task of redrawing their own districts and those of Georgia’s U.S. House members.

The process is required after each once-a-decade census to roughly equalize district populations.

There is widespread speculation that the GOP-dominated General Assembly will try to undermine Barrow’s political base.

Rep. Roger Lane, House Congressional and House Reapportionment Committee chairman, said one proposed map puts all of Chatham in the 1st.

“We have some working maps that get passed around as a starting point for discussion,” the Darien Republican said. “It’s just a draft. We haven’t done much yet on the congressional maps.”

Congressmen aren’t required to live in the districts they represent. But those who don’t often are tagged by foes as outsiders or “carpetbaggers.”

Barrow moved to Chatham County in 2006 after the legislature lopped his hometown of Athens out of
his 12th District. He was re-elected that year, but by only 864 votes — out of more than 142,000 cast.

No information was available Friday as to whether the redrawn 12th would be much less Democratic than it is now.

Some Republicans, including state Sen. Buddy Carter of Pooler, have expressed interest in running there if it’s GOP-friendly turf.

Chris Cashman, spokesman for Barrow, reacted cautiously.

“I would imagine they’ll be quite a few draft maps floating around until the ink dries on the final one,” said Cashman. “But the congressman has said all along that he’s going to run in the 12th — wherever it is.”

Kingston represents the islands area and other Republican-leaning parts of Chatham. His current district is lopsidedly Republican.

It would remain mostly Republican, but less so, if it included all of Chatham, which leans slightly Democratic.

The draft map also adds part of Republican-leaning Effingham County to the 1st.

Kingston won easily between 1996 and 2002, when all of Savannah was in the 1st.

He’s apparently not taking any chances; he recently reported banking almost $1 million for his 2012 re-election effort.

His office didn’t respond to requests for comment Friday.

But state Rep. Mickey Stephens, D-Savannah, who’s on the reapportionment panel, said he’s heard Kingston is “not warm” about the proposed changes.

Savannah Mayor Pro Tem Edna Jackson has said she wants both Barrow and Kingston to continue representing the city.

“I hope they rethink that idea,” she said in reference to the draft map. “We have been well-served by having two congressmen representing us. They work well together on behalf of our needs.”

Jackson also expressed concern that removing majority-black Savannah from the 12th might dilute minority voting strength there.

On Friday, a different draft said to be under consideration by lawmakers surfaced. It shows all of Chatham — and all of Effingham — being added to the 1st.

But Lane said he’s not seen that map.

Comments (21) Add comment
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Techfan
6461
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Techfan 07/30/11 - 07:11 am
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Republicans won 52% of the

Republicans won 52% of the presidential vote in 2008, so it just stands to reason they ought to have 70% of the Congressional Representatives, right?

Dixieman
16479
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Dixieman 07/30/11 - 07:33 am
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Where is the map graphic,

Where is the map graphic, AC???

Riverman1
90288
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Riverman1 07/30/11 - 07:35 am
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I'd gerrymander every

I'd gerrymander every Democrat all the way to New York.

Vito45
-2
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Vito45 07/30/11 - 08:27 am
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I disagree. As much as I

I disagree. As much as I would like to see the Democrats in a permanent minority, I detest the idea of gerrymandering. The local people deserve to be represented based on their collective will, not by some collusive effort of the party in charge. It is childsplay to do it the right way; just use a zipcode map. Start at the 4 corners and start adding zipscodes in a symmetrical fashion until you ge tthe desired headcount. When you reach the middle, you have the last district. Everything is fair without cheating the principles of representation.

Techfan
6461
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Techfan 07/30/11 - 08:39 am
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dix:http://blogs.ajc.com/poli

dix:http://blogs.ajc.com/political-insider-jim-galloway/2011/07/29/u-s-rep-john-barrow-to-be-shoved-out-of-savannah/

Techfan
6461
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Techfan 07/30/11 - 08:42 am
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Dix: I have a link to the AJC

Dix: I have a link to the AJC with the map. It should show up as soon as the AC approves posting the link. You would think links from the AJC would go through automatically. ( of course I've had some links posted from the AC that they never seemed to approve).

ECDanes
1
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ECDanes 07/30/11 - 09:29 am
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Riverman1
90288
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Riverman1 07/30/11 - 10:10 am
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Vito, the feds have already

Vito, the feds have already gerrymandered us like they were cutting up old Atlanta JC's to put back together as paper mache molded into whatever they wanted.

hockeymann
226
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hockeymann 07/30/11 - 10:18 am
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Good..Barrow needs to go next

Good..Barrow needs to go next election...Deadweight.!!

Emerydan
10
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Emerydan 07/30/11 - 10:34 am
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Interesting map. I like it

Interesting map. I like it for the most part. Districts seem compact and I think it's good to have cities and metro areas within one congressional district if possible.This would certainly make it very likely that the next 12th dist rep would come from the Augusta area. With Columbia County thrown in, the dist is more conservative than before, but not overwhelmingly so.. In fact I would still put this dist in the toss-up category. I think you will have a free for all on the GOP side. What will be interesting to see is who the local area establishment GOP leaders get behind. Will it be Deke? (That would be a huge mistake in my book). Or will they get behind someone from Columbia County, say a Ron Cross or Lee Anderson? As for the Dem side, I think Barrow would have a tough time in this district. I'de see someone like an Ed Tarver being a formidable candidate on the dem side. And many of these counties with the exception of Columbia, have substantial numbers African-American voters. Plus, Tarver has shown locally atleast, that he has appeal across racial lines. He is one to watch (that is if he is interested) Then you will have the tea party and other anti-establishment candidates. I imagine Ray McKinney will make another run. Then throw is some wild cards and this could be a very interesting race. But if the republicans nominate a lightwight RINO like Deke, they can hang it up, the Dems will keep the 12th.

Dixieman
16479
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Dixieman 07/30/11 - 11:31 am
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I like it. I think Barrow

I like it. I think Barrow will be defeated with the new Repubs in his district, and Paul Broun is safe even if some of us are moved from the 10th to the 12th.

Emerydan
10
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Emerydan 07/30/11 - 11:51 am
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Dixie.. I would not count on

Dixie.. I would not count on this 12th being a solid republican district. It is still very much a toss-up

Riverman1
90288
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Riverman1 07/30/11 - 12:43 pm
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I can't remember all the

I can't remember all the details but the chairman of the Columbia County Republican Party analyzed it yesterday and the Republican voters will increase drastically and they will be in the majority in Barrow's district. He had the figures on the way people voted in every county and was sure this would swing it to the Republican side, plus keep Broun safe.

Emerydan
10
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Emerydan 07/30/11 - 01:12 pm
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Riverman.. who do you think

Riverman.. who do you think will be their choice? Don't you think the leading person should be someone from Columbia County? That is where almost all of the growth in this new 12th is located.. well the Statesboro area is growing too. Do you think there will be an Augusta based GOP candidate pitted and a Columbia County GOP candidate? I think teh Col Co GOP could really be in the drivers seat on this one if they are smart.

Emerydan
10
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Emerydan 07/30/11 - 01:16 pm
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Just say no to Deke!

Just say no to Deke!

Sweet son
11072
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Sweet son 07/30/11 - 03:53 pm
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Any district carving knife

Any district carving knife that will slice a democrat out is a good knife!! Barrow might be a nice guy but I just don't trust him! Hope I don't get in AC trouble but he is a public figure!

Riverman1
90288
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Riverman1 07/30/11 - 07:07 pm
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Emerydan, Columbia County

Emerydan, Columbia County will absolutely dominate the district the way the voters turn out. It had one of the highest Republican turn-outs in the state last election and it's growing. 71.4% went for McCain which is greater than any large county in the state except Forsyth.

ECDanes
1
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ECDanes 07/30/11 - 06:43 pm
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So that means Deke doesn't

So that means Deke doesn't have a chance

Riverman1
90288
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Riverman1 07/30/11 - 07:10 pm
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ECDanes, I wouldn't count

ECDanes, I wouldn't count Mayor Copenhaver-Boardman out of anything he wants. They get the boy off the beach and make him mayor. Splain that to me. They have a machine and money. The churches are the key and he has them. Unless those of us on the Chronicle boards represent a trend of dissatisfaction with him, he can run for what he wants. We saw the machine work not long ago, didn't we? :)

Riverman1
90288
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Riverman1 07/30/11 - 07:09 pm
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But it's an interesting

But it's an interesting question of how Mayor Copenhaver-Boardman would do in Columbia County. I'd hope he would be too closely linked with Richmond Cty for Col. Cty. voters.

Little Lamb
47895
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Little Lamb 07/31/11 - 07:14 am
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If the legislature draws a

If the legislature draws a true coastal congressional district, and if it is heavily republican, and if John Barrow's official residence lies within said district; then the simplest thing to assure John Barrow's re-election would be for Barrow to switch parties. It's been done before.

Wouldn't that put a sock in Kingston's yammer?

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