A Democrat stumps in GOP country – Georgia's John Barrow, the only remaining white Democratic congressman from the Deep South, is in the fight of his life to keep his seat. In the small city of Baxley, Barrow presents himself as an independent to people like nursery owner Jimmy Cook, right.
A Democrat stumps in GOP country – Barrow gets a tour of Cook's vast nursery in Baxley, the seat of Appling County, which was added to District 12 in redistricting after the 2010 census. Barrow says Republicans redrew the lines to make it virtually impossible for a Democrat to win.
A Democrat stumps in GOP country – Those who have followed Barrow's career since he was elected to Congress in 2004 say that if anyone can defy political odds, it's him. Even Republicans say Barrow has been receptive to his constituents.
A Democrat stumps in GOP country – Barrow is facing a challenge from Republican state legislator Lee Anderson, who plays up his rural Georgia roots and even has an image of a tractor on his campaign signs. Anderson refuses to debate Barrow until the Democrat announces his support for Barack Obama in front of a camera.
A Democrat stumps in GOP country – Barrow's freshly redrawn district has many small towns and cities like Baxley, where white voters are conservative. Many were Democrats once but switched over to the GOP after the civil rights era and a rising perception of the national Democratic Party as being too liberal.
A Democrat stumps in GOP country – The Rayonier lumber mill is one of Baxley's larger employers. But even Rayonier has had to downsize with the recession. Employees told Barrow that the company could use his help with getting the housing industry back up.
A Democrat stumps in GOP country – Stephen Worthington, director of Southeast wood procurement at Rayonier, explains to Barrow how the lumber company's technology works. Later, Worthington wondered whether any of Worthington's senior staff would vote for a Democrat.
A Democrat stumps in GOP country – Barrow donned a hard hat at Rayonier, one of the stops on his "Made in Georgia" tour, designed to help the congressman get to know manufacturers in his district.
A Democrat stumps in GOP country – Downtown Baxley, with its small businesses and boarded-up storefronts, is not unlike other towns in Barrow's congressional district.