SAVANNAH, Ga. — U.S. Rep. John Barrow came out swinging Friday against a potential Republican opponent, even though the GOP hasn’t officially settled on a nominee in the 12th District congressional race.
Barrow launched a new TV ad Friday in the Augusta and Savannah markets that alleges Medicare and Social Security would face painful reductions under budget cuts supported by Republican Lee Anderson, a state lawmaker and farmer from Grovetown.
Barrow spokesman Richard Carbo said the congressman didn’t want to wait for the race between Anderson and Rick W. Allen to be decided. The National Republican Congressional Committee began airing ads last month tying Barrow to President Obama. The Democratic congressman’s new ad takes a similar approach, trying to link Anderson with budget proposals backed by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the GOP vice presidential nominee, who backs a Medicare overhaul.
“Lee Anderson and the Ryan budget we know is something the voters in this district are going to take very seriously,” Carbo said. “And there’s no time to waste.”
Barrow’s ad mostly seeks to bolster his own reputation as an independent by discussing his vote against Obama’s health care overhaul in 2008. But the end of the 30-second ad takes a swipe at Anderson.
“Lee Anderson supports the plan that would cut Medicare and Social Security by 25 percent,” an announcer says. “John Barrow would never do that.”
The ad refers to a Republican proposal, supported by Ryan as House budget chairman, to cap government spending at 18 percent of the nation’s total economic output. Anderson, on his campaign Web site, says he supports the plan, called “Cut, Cap and Balance.” Barrow’s campaign cites the liberal Center for American Progress, which concluded the plan would require across-the-board budget cuts of 25 percent – including for Medicare and Social Security – unless other programs saw deeper reductions.
Anderson spokesman Ryan Mahoney dismissed the attack.
“Lee Anderson is a common sense farmer and businessman who supports reforms that protect Medicare for our current seniors and fixes the program for generations to come,” Mahoney said. “He will fight to rein in out-of-control spending in Washington and balance the budget.”
Barrow faces a tough fight after Republican lawmakers redrew his district to carve out Savannah, the congressman’s home and Democratic base. He has since moved to Augusta.