MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT/AP) - Rep. John Barrow explained to 41NBC that he's been focused on helping small businesses in his district while the nation's Democrats gathered to nominate his party's president, Barack Obama for re-election. Barrow is running for re-election for the 5th time, in Georgia's newly drawn 12th Congressional District, which in the last presidential election voted for Republican John McCain. Barrow wants voters to remember him on election day for what he's done for Georgia and the district, even if they don't support President Obama.
It's pretty clear that as a Democrat, Barrow plans to support the president's bid for election. But when he was asked about his support for the president, Barrow aimed to make it clear that his role in the U.S. House is separate from that of the president. He said, "Just because I'm voting for somebody to do somebody else's job, doesn't mean I'm voting for them to do my job."
Barrow told us the biggest difference between he and his opponent, Republican Lee Anderson, is that he can differentiate a good idea from a bad idea, regardless of which party proposed it. "I have never been a rubber stamp for any party, any party leadership, or any president. I think it's my job to try to come up with solutions that will serve the interest of the folks I represent, " said Barrow.
Barrow has served in the seat for four terms in a row, and he's hoping voters will send him back to Washington in November. He says his main focus this campaign season is reminding voters that he works for them.
Barrow is trying to distance himself from President Barack Obama to offset efforts by his Republican opponent to paint them as political soul mates. Lee Anderson, a state lawmaker and farmer from Grovetown, officially became Barrow's GOP challenger this week after a protracted primary that had to be settled by an August runoff and a recount Wednesday. Anderson talks of campaigning against both Barrow and Obama as if they're running mates in Georgia's 12th District. Barrow is running TV ads to counter that message. In one he says: "When the president's right for Georgia, I support him. When he's not, I don't."