Mon., March 22, 2010 9:59pm (EDT)

Challenger Criticizes Barrow's Vote
By Mary Ellen Cheatham
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Updated: 4 years ago

AUGUSTA, Ga.  —  
U.S. Rep. John Barrow, a Democrat from Savannah, voted against a major health care bill on Sunday.  (Photo courtesy of U.S. House of Representatives)
U.S. Rep. John Barrow, a Democrat from Savannah, voted against a major health care bill on Sunday. (Photo courtesy of U.S. House of Representatives)
Democratic Congressman John Barrow voted against the federal health care bill on Sunday because he says it would hurt working people, overwhelm Medicaid and go too easy on insurance companies.

Regina Thomas, a former Democratic state legislator who plans to challenge the congressman in his bid for re-election this year, says Barrow reneged on a promise to support President Obama on health care reform.

She supports the measure and says the congressman’s votes ignored the views of his constituents.

"These people are stunned," she says. "They were given hope and he took the hope away. Evidently he is pleasing the Republicans, and some who say they’ll vote Democrat but their actions lean toward voting for the other side. Maybe these are the people he is trying to please, but they’re certainly not the ones who put him in office."

But Barrow's largely Democratic 12th congressional district also has a strong base of Republicans and conservative Democrats.

And, health care providers are one of his top campaign contributors.

A major doctors’ group in Georgia had strongly opposed the measure.

Thomas, meanwhile, unsuccessfully challenged Barrow in the Democratic primary during the last congressional elections two years ago.

Barrow and Rep. Sanford Bishop, a Democrat from Albany, were the last two holdouts of Georgia's congressmen, revealing only Friday how they would vote. Unlike Barrow, Bishop supported the measure.

For more analysis on how this historic vote may affect the congressmen in upcoming elections, click the link below to hear WACG's Mary Ellen Cheatham interview Charles Bullock, a political science professor at the University of Georgia.