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Stone plans return to take on Barrow

Posted: March 17, 2013 - 12:02am

While it might be nice to pretend we don’t have to even think about elections until next year, the reality of our times is that we don’t have that luxury.

John Stone sure doesn’t. Starting this summer, he’ll have a full-time job: Running for Congress.

You might remember Stone. If you’re an old-timer, you’ll recall his voice from radio news in Augusta. More recently, he might be familiar from the 2008 congressional race that he lost to Democrat John Barrow.

In between, he was the right-hand man for Charlie Norwood, who served the 10th Congressional District as our congressman until he died in 2007.

Stone told me last week he’s preparing to run again against Barrow. He’ll have a couple of advantages he didn’t have last time.

First, the district’s boundaries are much different. In 2008, before redistricting, the 12th leaned Democrat. Lee Anderson drew the seat to give himself an edge, so now it tilts Republican. Anderson lost to Barrow, but Mitt Romney took the district with 57 percent.

Second, Stone says, he’s gathering a campaign team of people who have already done what he wants to do here: Beat an incumbent Democrat in a GOP-leaning congressional district.

He’ll have challenges, of course, not the least of which is the fact that Barrow has managed thus far to defeat every Republican who’s been thrown against him, and has survived repeated Republican efforts to redraw him out of the district.

Because Stone has been working so long in Washington, he’ll also need to reconnect with his roots.

“I still have my home there” in Forest Hills, Stone says. “I was born and raised there. I went to Hickman Park kindergarten, Richmond Academy, Langford Junior High and Augusta State, all on Walton Way. My family has been there since the Revolution.

“I’ve been up here,” he adds, “but I came up here to serve the district.”

Once the race starts, he knows he’ll have a fight on his hands – one that won’t get any easier if Barrow wins the redrawn seat again.

In last year’s election, he points out, “you had a bunch of Republicans who voted for Barrow. You pull that lever one time, it gets easier to pull it the next time. We can beat him substantially this time. If we don’t, we’ll be stuck with him.”

We’ll also be stuck with a vulnerable district.

“By God, we’ve got to have somebody championing our area. And we don’t,” Stone says.

That’s especially important to Fort Gordon, whose protection during the previous Base Closure and Realignment Commission process was a credit to Norwood’s hard work.

“We’ve got to have a member out there working like hell to get missions moved from elsewhere to Fort Gordon as part of the next BRAC,” Stone says. “Or else we’re going to see missions moved from Fort Gordon to someplace else.

“We’ve got to have somebody who can make that fight,” he said. “Barrow ain’t it.”

Stone plans to visit Evans on Saturday, March 23, for the Republican Party’s monthly breakfast at Fatz Cafe. Stop by and welcome him home before the non-stop campaigning starts.

(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. Email barry.paschal@newstimes online.com, or call 706-868-1222, ext. 106. Follow at www.twitter.com/
barrypaschal.)

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Comments (3)

TCB22

I hope it's a clean election.

I hope it's a clean election. People respect it more when candidates talk about what they can do for the area and not bash each other with personal attacks.

Little Lamb

Fort Gordon

Though I am not a Republican, you can count me as one right-winger who pulled the lever for Barrow last time. It was not because of Lee Anderson’s drawl, but because Lee Anderson proved himself through his voting record and his rhetoric (what little there was of it) that he is a big government Republican. A statist Republican is worse than a blue-dog Democrat.

Since John Stone does not have a voting record, he can say just about anything and no one can call him on it. That's one advantage he has over Lee Anderson.

This column focuses heavily on Stone's intent to zero in on Fort Gordon as an issue. I hope he does not become perceived as a one-issue candidate. John Barrow can pull some rabbits out of the hat on Fort Gordon just as he did with the NRA last time. He can get Wesley Clark and other retired generals to endorse him. He can ingratiate himself with new defense secretary Chuck Hagel (the two seem made for each other).

Oh, and maybe John Stone should not move back to Forest Hills. He might want to move south and west, like Louisville, or maybe even Dublin.

Austin Rhodes

IF Barrow opts out...

...look for Bob Young to run for that GOP nomination as well.

Barrow is seriously mulling that run for the Saxby Chambliss U.S. Senate seat. Bob will not run against Barrow (he considers him (unbeatable), but without Barrow in the 12th district race, he is telling those close to him that he is "in".

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