Ex-congressman loses comeback bid

Former Georgia state Sen. Barry Loudermilk (R) defeated former Rep. Bob Barr (R-Ga.) in the Republican runoff for retiring Rep. Phil Gingrey's (R-Ga.) seat, dashing Barr's hopes of returning to Congress more than a decade after losing his seat.

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The Associated Press called the race for Loudermilk, who was leading Barr by 70 percent to 30 percent with 41 percent of precincts reporting.

Loudermilk was considered the favorite heading into Tuesday's runoff. He benefitted from several national conservative and Tea Party endorsements including from the Club for Growth and The Madison Project, in addition to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R). He'd led Barr by 11 points in the first round of voting.

Barr lost his first House seat in 2002 when he was defeated in the primary election. He then switched to the Libertarian Party for a shot at the presidency, running for the party's nomination in 2008, before rejoining the Republican Party.

Though Loudermilk boasted more outside endorsements, no groups went on the air for either candidate. Instead, Loudermilk and Barr took to the district's mailboxes, slinging mud at each other through direct-mail advertisements.

Loudermilk slammed Barr for an endorsement letter he wrote while in office supporting Eric Holder's nomination for Attorney General. Loudermilk took heat for claims that he'd embellished his military service record and a racism complaint filed by a former secretary.

Despite the attacks, Loudermilk was able to maintain his base support and earn the nomination. No Democratic candidate has filed to run in the fall in the heavily conservative district, all but guaranteeing Loudermilk a seat in the next Congress.

 

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