The numbers, Rick Allen believes, are in his favor.
The longtime Augusta-area businessman is one of five Republicans running for the U.S. 12th District House nomination to oppose incumbent Democrat John Barrow in the November general election. But Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney got 54 percent of the district’s votes in 2012, and Allen said John McCain would have gotten 60 percent of the vote from the district as currently constituted.
“This is a Republican district,” Allen said.
Still, Barrow is expected to be a formidable foe for whoever the Republican opponent is. He has amassed nearly $1.5 million for his campaign. Allen, though, believes an anti-incumbent tide could be sweeping through Congress.
“We’re running against Washington,” Allen said. “We want to change the way Washington does business. John Barrow’s been there 10 years. When he got to Washington, we were spending $2.3 trillion a year. The president has just proposed we’re going to spend $4 trillion next year. That’s unacceptable.”
Allen’s own polls also show his name identification is strong, mostly a result of his campaign from two years ago. Allen lost by 159 votes, out of 27,411 cast, in the 2012 runoff. Barrow won the general election with 53.7 percent of the vote, his narrowest margin of victory since 2006.
“I’m the only candidate this time who ran in the last cycle,” he said. “That’s a huge advantage, as far as name ID. We got to know a lot of folks in the last cycle, and we’re getting to know more folks in this cycle.”
His campaign also is concentrating on each county individually, with a county chairman helping with grass roots efforts, “which is a big advantage for us,” Allen said.
“I would prefer to meet every voter in the district,” he said. “But then too we’ve got to raise enough money to get on the networks and help us with name ID.”
The economy and the Affordable Care Act, also known was Obamacare, continue to be hot-button topics among the electorate, Allen said.
“We’ve got 92 million people sitting at home,” he said. “We have to those folks back to work, because it’s going to break this country.”
Allen wants to see control of health care returned to local hands. The chairman of a hospital authority for nine years, Allen said the unpopular law is going to cost the Democrats control of the Senate.
“Obamacare is the most unpopular piece of legislation in the history of this country,” he said. “It was partisan. We have to bring health care back to the states. I don’t believe you should send a dollar to Washington and get 20 cents back with strings attached. If this president had told people they couldn’t keep their doctor, couldn’t keep their insurance, he would have never won re-election. That’s the kind of deceits and untruths we need to get rid of health care and in Washington.”
Allen said the law isn’t efficient and he will fight to have the ACA overturned.
“I want to keep those dollars in our state,” he said. “We have a responsibility to take care of our people, and I think we can do a pretty good job of that and we can do it a lot better if we keep that money at home and keep those Washington bureaucrats out of it.”
There are four others running in the Republican primary, and Allen believes he’s the most qualified of the group, based on his hospital authority service and the 37 years he spent building construction company R.W. Allen and Associates.
“I understand health care,” he said. “We have to change the way Washington does business. I’m a problem solver, and I can’t wait to go solve problems in Washington. We cannot any longer kick this can down the road.”