Barrow lost re-election last week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
This is the first in a five-part series examining the campaigns behind the cycle’s most fascinating races.
Republican Rick Allen and his team gathered around a table at the Hilton Garden Inn in Augusta, Ga., Tuesday night, waiting for results to come in. They weren’t optimistic.
Allen faced the ultimate political survivor, Rep. John Barrow, the sole remaining white Democrat in the Deep South.
Just before Election Day, Democrats’ polling showed Barrow consistently ahead. Allen’s campaign didn’t have internals to counter; the last time they polled the race was more than a month ago.
Even more discouraging, Barrow was known for squeaking out wins, even as GOP presidential candidates carried the 12th District by double-digits. Republicans had tried to oust Barrow before, and many operatives were convinced he would escape their grasp again.
But as soon as the early returns trickled in, it was clear: Republicans had finally nabbed their white whale. Barrow not only lost — he was defeated by a stunning 10-point margin.