New Georgia Maps Threaten Barrow

The newest maps for Georgia’s congressional delegation have been released, and one thing is obvious from a quick glance at the maps:

John Barrow is in serious trouble.

The 12th District representative, and one of the few remaining alleged “blue dogs” in the House is going to see a lot of the Obama-friendly portions of his district moved to other representatives. As population has decreased in south Georgia, some reallocation has been required to make room for exploding growth in the northern part of the state. Therefore, in addition to creating a new district in north Georgia, districts in the South are changing shape to accommodate the changing demographics.

Barrow’s case will stand out as the biggest potential flip in 2012. While the current maps make 2nd District Rep. Sanford Bishop (D) more likely to retain his seat (thanks to moving conservative areas to Austin Scott’s realm), they also make Rep. Barrow much more vulnerable.

The old 12th district went 56-44 for Barrow over his opponent, Ray McKinney. The new 12th district, however, removes quite a few blue counties (numbers provided for 2008):

  • Warren (58-41 for Obama)
  • Taliaferro (65-35)
  • Hancock (81-18)
  • Most of Baldwin (52-47)
  • Half of Chatham/Savannah (57-42)
  • Part of Baldwin (52-47)

The above areas covered about 100,000 voters, but that isn’t all. It also adds some very, very red areas to the district:

  • Laurens (60-39 for McCain)
  • Telfair (57-42)
  • Coffee (64-35)
  • Jeff Davis (73-26)
  • Appling (72-26)
  • Richmond County/Augusta (65-34)
  • Wheeler (64-36)

These areas cover approximately 130,000 voters.

Considering Barrow’s win in 2010 was only by 22,000 votes, it’ll be tough enough without one other, interesting factor:

He no longer lives in the 12th District.

No, as part of redistricting, he now will reside in the 1st District of Jack Kingston.

To sum up, he’ll either have to move and face a populace that just got a lot more conservative, or stay where he is and take on a powerful, entrenched Republican incumbent in a very difficult race.

John Barrow is in serious trouble.