Five-term Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. John Barrow, a longtime moving target of Republicans, faces an all-out GOP challenge in Georgia’s 12th district.

Barrow, the last white Democratic congressman from the deep South, is running against Augusta businessman Rick Allen in the predominantly GOP district. The battle shapes up as Georgia’s only seriously contested congressional race this year.

While Allen appears one of the most formidable candidates Barrow has faced, the race is rated even by national political observers, Emory University political scientist Alan Abramowitz said.

“I wouldn’t rule out that he won’t survive,” Abramowitz said. “I predict a close race that could go any way.” The Cook Political Report on Aug. 1 rated the district as “leaning Democrat.”

Republicans have redrawn the district several times, forcing Barrow to move from his hometown of Athens to Savannah and now Augusta. Despite the address changes and majority Republican electorates, the attorney has managed to hang on in the district, which now slices from Augusta down into central Georgia, including the cities of Dublin, Douglas and Statesboro. 

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