The emails about the Republican race for Georgia’s 11th Congressional District came in a flurry last month, landing in reporters’ in-boxes within hours of each other. Each featured former Congressman Bob Barr, a fiery partisan seeking a political comeback.
First, former state Sen. Barry Loudermilk’s campaign issued a press release, saying his internal polling showed he was in a dead heat with Barr. Less than five hours later, state Rep. Ed Lindsey’s aides issued an announcement, saying his polling showed him in second place behind Barr.
Barr has emerged as the man to beat in the six-way race. He is well known in the Atlanta-area district for helping lead impeachment proceedings against President Bill Clinton and for his unsuccessful campaign for president in 2008 as a Libertarian. He also raised the most campaign money of any candidate last quarter, hauling in $121,681.
But the former federal prosecutor is facing some seasoned candidates. Among them: Lindsey, a state Capitol insider; Loudermilk, a tea party-friendly candidate; and Tricia Pridemore, an entrepreneur and close ally to Republican Gov. Nathan Deal. Completing the field are Allan Levene and Larry Mrozinski. Political observers expect the race will go into extra innings after the May 20 Republican primary.
Barr said his internal polling shows he has a double-digit percentage-point lead over his opponents. Still, the former CIA analyst said he is anticipating a runoff after the May 20 primary.
“We have money set aside for a runoff,” he said during a recent interview at his campaign office in the Cumberland area of Cobb County. “With six candidates in the race, a runoff is more likely than not. I don’t view it as inevitable. But we are ready for it.”