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GEORGIA: Barr Hires Ex-nemesis To Guide His Campaign

Former Rep. Bob Barr (R) has signed on a familiar name — and ex-nemesis — to aid in his comeback Congressional bid in the open 6th district.

In a twist of political irony, Barr has hired Bo Harmon, who worked to defeat the firebrand Congressman last year, as his general campaign consultant.

Harmon managed the 2002 campaign of Rep. John Linder (R), who beat Barr badly in a redistricting-prompted primary in the neighboring 7th district.

After the primary, Harmon moved over to manage then-Rep. Saxby Chambliss’ (R) Senate campaign, where he helped orchestrate the Republican’s upset win over then-Sen. Max Cleland (D).

Final details of the arrangement are still being worked out, but Harmon, who is based in Washington, D.C., will serve as a general consultant for the campaign and is also expected to take an active role on the ground as well.

“It’s quite flattering that Congressman Barr found my work to be professional and effective, and I look forward to returning him to Congress,” Harmon said Friday.

Several other Republicans are expected to enter the race to replace Rep. Johnny Isakson (R), who is running for Senate. The 6th district seat is heavily Republican, and the primary contest in effect will decide who comes to Congress in 2005.

— Lauren W. Whittington


DSCC Poll Shows Bond May Be Vulnerable

Attempting to lure a top-tier candidate into the race against Sen. Kit Bond (R), the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee released a poll last week showing that the three-term Senator is ripe for the pickings.

Only 41 percent of the 600 likely voters polled by the Mellman Group said they would vote to re-elect Bond. The poll was in the field March 1-4 and had a 4 percent margin of error.

“Senator Bond is in a bind and his election prospects are certainly in doubt,” said DSCC Executive Director Andy Grossman.

Also enticing for Democrats are Bond’s job approval ratings. Just 45 percent thought positively of how he was doing compared to 41 percent who had a negative impression.

Democrats have no announced candidates in the race. The DSCC is talking to both Lt. Gov. Joe Maxwell and state Auditor Claire McCaskill.

McCaskill is contemplating a primary challenge to first-term Gov. Bob Holden (D), who has struggled to coalesce his Democratic base.

In 1998, Bond was a major target for Democrats, but state Attorney General Jay Nixon (D) struggled to unite the black community behind his candidacy. Bond outspent him by better than 2-1 and won 53 percent to 44 percent.

— Chris Cillizza


Capps to Run Again Despite Term Pledge

Rep. Lois Capps (D) has become the latest California House Member to break a term-limits pledge. She announced her candidacy for a fifth term on Friday.

Capps signed a term-limits pledge in 1998, when she was running in a special election to replace her late husband, former Rep. Walter Capps (D), who died suddenly less than a year after winning his first term.

“During that tumultuous period in my life, I couldn’t imagine serving more than seven years in Congress,” she said Friday. “Times and circumstances have changed, and now I think differently.”

Whether breaking the pledge will hurt Capps politically is hard to say. Since winning the special election, she has never taken more than 59 percent of the vote in a district that takes in portions of the Golden State’s South and Central coasts.

— Josh Kurtz

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