Barr Announces 2004 Candidacy For House Seat
by Joseph P. Tartaro
Former congressman and current National Rifle Association board member Bob Barr announced in Marietta, GA, on Feb. 17 that he is planning to run for Congress again, this time from Georgias 6th Congressional District, right next door to his previous home district.
Fellow Republican Rep. Johnny Isakson, who currently is serving his third term in the 6th District, plans to run for the Senate seat being vacated by retiring Democrat Sen. Zell Miller.
Joined for the announcement by his wife, sons, daughter, and grandchildren on the Marietta town square, Barr formalized reports that he was pondering a return to the political field, and said his experience and seniority should help him in his race.
Barr, a staunch defender of privacy and Second Amendment rights, lost the 7th District seat to fellow pro-gun Republican Rep. John Linder in a 2002 primary after Democrats reapportioned the state to force a face-off between the two popular veteran GOP congressmen. Linder had served in the House a little longer than Barr who first won a House seat when fellow Georgian Newt Gingrich led the Republicans to control of Congress in 1994.
The Democrats had targeted Barr in part because he was one of the most active and visible members of the Clinton impeachment team in the House.
In his race for the new suburban Atlanta district, Barr will be competing in a predominately Republican district that is somewhat less conservative than his old district. The new district takes in parts of four counties generally made up of better educated managerial and professional people.
During an interview with Gun Week during the recent Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show in Orlando, FL, a few days before his announcement, Barr stressed his support of President Bush, his concerns about economic growth and job stability, domestic security and the war on terrorism, and his continued commitment to preserving individual rights.
Barr was more than just a pro-gun vote on the House Judiciary Committee while he was representing the 7th District; he was a leader in defense and support for the Second Amendment, a go-to guy for Americans concerned about their gun rights. And because he was also a major supporter of First and Fourth Amendment rights, he was a go-to Republican for civil rights organizations of the left and right when anti-terrorism and similar legislation threatened individual liberties. Since leaving Congress, he has written extensively on liberties issues, and has served as a consultant to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
Im not in entire agreement with the ACLU on every issue, Barr said during the interview, but where I am in agreement I am with them 100%. Viewed by many, particularly in the media as an arch conservative, Barr stresses that he was as concerned about First, Second and Fourth Amendment rights before going to Congress, when he was a federal prosecutor.
Barrs announcement in Marietta was clearly geared for the ears of voters in the 6th District.
The 6th District includes a significant portion of the area in Cobb County that Jeri (his wife) and I have always called home and that I represented during my eight years of service as 7th District congressman. I care deeply about this district, and I want to play a part in helping it continue to drive much of the economic success of the metro Atlanta region. For this reason, I am announcing today my candidacy to represent the 6th District in the United States Congress, said Barr.
Our district faces numerous challenges in the years ahead. It will benefit from honest and open leadership and having a representative with substantial experience. For this reason, I am also pleased to announce House leaders have assured me I will retain my prior level of seniority following the election. Rather than having to wait years for a freshman member to build seniority, this means the 6th District can benefit directly from having a representative with eight years of congressional experience working on its needs, Barr continued.
Appearing at the Feb. 17 event to endorse Barr was former Cobb County Commissioner and gubernatorial candidate Bill Byrne, who will serve as a co-chair for Barrs new campaign. Barr also announced that Marietta resident and long-time GOP activist Craig Dowdy will chair his campaign.
Barr, who raised some $3.5 million in his last congressional campaign, has already opened a campaign office in Marietta, and will immediately begin to build volunteer and financial support as he travels throughout the 6th District.
People interested in contacting the Barr campaign may do so by mail at: 240 Cherokee St., Suite 101, Marietta, GA 30060, or through his website: www.bobbarr.org.