U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson’s announcement that he’ll seek a third term set off speculation about potential opponents – mostly centering on right-wing Republican challengers.

Despite his conservative record, Isakson receives heat from far-right groups who perceive him as too bipartisan. With support from the GOP establishment and the backing of Tea Party favorite U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, Isakson appears well-armed to fend off right wing challenges.

The Georgia Democratic Party also is looking at the 2016 Senate race. After disappointing defeats by Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter two weeks ago, Democrats are wondering whether to launch a full-press campaign against Isakson, who turns 70 in December, or hold their ammo.

One intriguing Democratic challenger to Isakson would be 12th District U.S. Rep. John Barrow, who after withstanding GOP challenges since 2004 lost to Republican Rick Allen Nov. 4.

Barrow has not expressed further political ambitions. The House’s last white Southern Democrat, Barrow reportedly declined national party requests to run this year for retiring GOP incumbent Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ seat. Instead, Nunn stepped up.

After losing to Allen in a campaign heavily funded by outside groups, Barrow probably would summon little enthusiasm for a state campaign in 2016. Congressmen must run every two years, and Barrow is probably weary of gearing up that soon. 

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