A Georgia Republican Congressional candidate is defending his votes for and contributions to Democrats. Augusta retired Navy officer Wright McLeod is running in the GOP primary in Georgia's 12th Congressional District. McLeod says, he voted for Democrat Bill Richardson in the 2008 presidential race to stop Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton from gaining the nomination.
While Congress takes a fall recess, US Rep. John Barrow is working his new district in eastern Georgia. The Democratic incumbent could face a tough re-election battle next year. Republican state lawmakers re-drew his 12th District to carve out his home base of Savannah and make his electorate more GOP-leaning.
Georgia sends $1.1 billion in exports to Columbia, Korea and Panama. Republicans and some business groups say, those exports stand to rise now that Congress has approved trade deals lowering tariffs on the nations. Georgia chemicals, machines and transportation equipment are among the items that could be the most boosted by lower tariffs. But some labor unions are skeptical.
Republican state lawmakers approved maps that drew the Congressman out of his district. Barrow says, the GOP majority put politics over population in drawing political boundaries. The new map puts Barrow's home -- heavily Democratic Savannah in the neighboring 1st District.
Cases are still outstanding three years after the deadly explosion and fire at the Imperial Sugar refinery near Savannah. Fourteen people died and scores were wounded in one of the worst industrial disasters in state history. Federal officials later found, the company "willfully" violated safety rules by letting combustible dust build up.
The Republicans still have memories of electing one of their own in Georgia's 12th District. They know the Democrat who represents the district had a close call in the last mid-term election. But can even this historic election atmosphere topple a three-term incumbent?
A spokeswoman says, Barrow took the money before the accusations surfaced. The Republican running to unseat Barrow this year, Ray McKinney, calls the campaign contribution "dirty money" and says Barrow should donate it to charity.