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After two close shaves, a breather for Barrow

POSTED: November 28, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Democratic incumbent John Barrow secured his third term in Congress, easily defeating Republican challenger John Stone in the race for Georgia’s U.S. House District 12.

Barrow (D-Savannah) beat Stone nearly 2 to 1, getting 164,300 votes to the  Augusta Republican’s 84,664.

“We’ve got a big responsibility,” Barrow said when asked about returning to Congress for a third term.  “The voters voted for change two years ago and got gridlock and they voted for change again this time around. Now we have to deliver something better than gridlock. I’m real proud of the fact that we in our part of the country are going to be a big part of that.”

Barrow said he plans to work within his caucus, the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats, and with representatives from across the aisle to bring solutions to the middle class — namely confronting the high cost of energy, health care and health insurance.

Stone won just two of the 22 counties in the district, including Effingham. Barrow’s vote totals from Chatham and Richmond counties alone almost equaled Stone’s entire district vote total.

Reacting to his defeat late Tuesday night, Stone was bitter toward his own party, particularly the National Republican Congressional Committee.

“We beat John Barrow,” Stone said. “What we couldn’t beat was the combination of the (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee) coming in here at the last minute and bailing him out and the behind the scenes undermining of our campaign by the (National Republican Congressional Committee). You can’t beat both parties at the same time.”

Stone said the NRCC directly undermined his campaign’s ability to fund raise in this race.

“The silver lining — this give us the opportunity to fire the entire National Republican Congressional Committee for their political incompetence. And that’s what I’m demanding in the morning. We’ll get a chance to clean house and turn this party back to the party of Reagan.”

Stone said at his election party in Augusta on Tuesday night that he plans to run against Barrow again in 2010.

Barrow was asked if there is a concern about a drastic shift to the left when Democrats control Congress and the White House in January.

“There’s a big concern, but custody and control aren’t the same thing,” he said. “It’s essential that folks who represent districts like ours be heard from and that we make sure folks realize that this is a big country. We have an obligation to reach out to folks on the other side of the aisle and try to build relationships with people who don’t agree with us.”

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