Rep. John Barrow ( D – GA 12 ) is in better shape than most Democrats up for reelection in 2014 but he still has the albatross of the Affordable Care Act to contend with.
Even though Rep. Barrow is a Democrat in a majority Republican district, he managed to defeat his opponent by 7 points in the 2012 election. He has the endorsement of the NRA and, even better, he can say that he voted against the Affordable Care Act in 2009. More recently he also co-sponsored Rep. Upton’s Keep Your Health Plan Act of 2013.
All of this may not be enough. Rep. Upton’s bill is unlikely to be voted on by the Senate and would certainly be vetoed by President Obama if it were. As more provisions of the Affordable Care Act take effect, more voters nationally are going to be looking to blame someone for the health care problems they begin to have. The 12th District voters won’t be any different.
Rick Allen, the businessman who lost in the 2012 Georgia 12th House District Republican primary ( by 159 votes ) already has signs up locally. I have not heard him quoted yet but his best strategy would be to say, “If elected, I will vote to scrap Obamacare” and to say it often.
Rep. Barrow has two poor choices for responses if he faces Mr. Allen in November. The first would be to try to defend the Affordable Care Act. Good luck with reasoning with voters who’ve lost their health care or can’t see their doctor any more. The second choice, preemptively voting for repeal of the Affordable Care Act before the election, would run the risk of prompting a primary challenge from Rep. Barrow’s left. He would probably defeat such a challenge but any movement to the left during the primary would give his Republican challenger opportunities during the election.