Politics

Photos: A Democrat stumps in GOP country

Updated 2:58 PM ET, Fri October 26, 2012
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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. Raymond McCrea Jones/CNN
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. Raymond McCrea Jones/CNN
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. Raymond McCrea Jones/CNN
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. Raymond McCrea Jones/CNN
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. Raymond McCrea Jones/CNN
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. Raymond McCrea Jones/CNN
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. Raymond McCrea Jones/CNN
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. Raymond McCrea Jones/CNN
Downtown Baxley, with its small businesses and boarded-up storefronts, is not unlike other towns in Barrow's congressional district. Raymond McCrea Jones/CNN
Navy veteran Dennis Norris showed Barrow around the American Legion Altamaha Post 26 in Baxley. For Norris, veterans issues are key, and Barrow, who serves on the Veterans Affairs Committee, took time to listen. Raymond McCrea Jones/CNN
Barrow meets voters at a barbecue dinner he hosted at the American Legion post in Baxley. The Georgia native likes to talk about his ancestral connections to the state. Raymond McCrea Jones/CNN
The crowd was thin at the American Legion barbecue, but Barrow made the most of it. He knows every vote will count in November. Raymond McCrea Jones/CNN
Frank Miles, chairman of the Appling County Democratic Committee, is an enthusiastic supporter of Barrow's. Raymond McCrea Jones/CNN
Richard Carbo, Barrow's communications director, helps hang a sign for a dinner event in Douglas, the heart of Coffee County, another new addition to Barrow's district. Raymond McCrea Jones/CNN
Some black voters who showed up at the Douglas event said they did not like that Barrow tries to distance himself from the Democratic Party. Raymond McCrea Jones/CNN
Buck Chambers, one of three siblings who run countertop manufacturer Marcraft, gives Barrow a tour of the company plant in Douglas. Everyone in the Chambers family votes Republican, but they like politicians who think independently of party lines. They said they might vote for Barrow after meeting him. Raymond McCrea Jones/CNN
Barrow brought along a Subway sandwich so he could sit and have lunch with workers at aluminium giant Elixir Industries. He talked a language lawmaker and worker have in common: football. Raymond McCrea Jones/CNN
Barrow says he made a promise to his constituents: that he would continue to represent them. In one of his ads, Barrow says, "I approved this message because folks in Washington don't like me being independent, but you're the one who counts." Raymond McCrea Jones/CNN