Barr Won’t Seek Isakson’s Seat

Posted April 22, 2003 at 5:46pm

Ending a brief two-month candidacy, former Rep. Bob Barr (R-Ga.) announced Wednesday that he will not seek Georgia’s open 6th district seat next year.

At a news conference in Atlanta, Barr said that the time “was just not right” to re-enter politics. Since losing a Member vs. Member primary to Rep. John Linder (R-Ga.) last year, Barr has taken on a variety of roles, including serving as a commentator on CNN, as a consultant with the American Civil Liberties Union, and as a board member of the National Rifle Association.

Despite these responsibilities, in February Barr became the first candidate to announce he would run for the seat of Rep. Johnny Isakson (R). Isakson announced in January that he is running to replace retiring Sen. Zell Miller (D-Ga.).

But a source familiar with Barr’s thinking said the 54-year-old is enjoying his post-Congressional professional life and also wants to spend more time with his family.

“I think it generally is that his heart’s not in it,” the source said, referring to Barr’s reasons for dropping out.

Barr said as much at his news conference. “The fact there were doubts in my mind and desires to do some other things, both professionally and family-wise, were telling me this was not the right time right now,” Barr said. “There may be a time in the future.”

Barr’s departure leaves state Sen. Robert Lamutt (R) as the only announced candidate, although a crowded GOP field is likely to eventually emerge. Lamutt has said he is willing to spend up to $1 million of his own money on the race.

State Senate Majority Leader Tom Price (R) is expected to formally announce he is running for the seat at some point after the Legislature’s scheduled adjournment Friday.

Several other potential GOP candidates are also eyeing the safely-Republican seat, including state Sen. Chuck Clay and state Reps. Earl Ehrhart, Roger Hines and Mark Burkhalter.

Barr, who does not live in the 6th district, is not expected to endorse any other candidate tomorrow. His March 31st fundraising report showed that he raised $327,000 in the first three months of the year. He also spent $246,000, leaving his campaign with $81,000 in the bank.

Barr lost to Linder by almost 30 points last year in a 7th district primary that resulted from redistricting.