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Atlanta mostly misses 2012 campaign fireworks

6:44 PM, Oct 9, 2012   |    comments
A distorted image of Rep. John Barrow (D-Georgia) appears in a TV ad made by his GOP opponent Lee Anderson.
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ATLANTA, GA -- "I'm John Barrow. Some people like me. Some people don't," intones the Democratic congressman from Georgia's 12th congressional district, in a commercial unseen on Atlanta TV.

"Liberal Congressman John Barrow lies to keep his job," says an announcer darkly in a commercial for Barrow's opponent, Republican Lee Anderson. This is part of the drumbeat of political advertising appearing on local television in Augusta and Savannah and Macon.

It's the essence of the campaign for the 12th district congressional race, an expensive and well-funded race that is easily the most expensive congressional race in Georgia.

Yet there are also eight contested congressional races this fall around metro Atlanta, most in majority Republican districts. None of the 16 candidates in those races has bought a lick of advertising on Atlanta TV. Turns out there's a reason for that.

"State legislators deliberately drew those districts to keep Republican incumbents safe. That's the prerogative that they have as the majority party," said Dr. Andra Gillespie, an Emory University associate professor. The creation of those five GOP-majority districts also resulted in three safe Democratic congressional seats.

Three congressional races in Georgia -- seats held by Reps. Lynn Westmoreland, Paul Broun and Austin Scott -- are uncontested in November.  All the incumbents in those races are Republican.

Neither US Senator from Georgia is on the ballot in November.

Georgia TV is also mostly missing out on an abundance of negative advertising firing between the Obama and Romney presidential campaigns -- because both sides are convince Romney will win Georgia's 16 electoral votes.

"It would actually be foolhardy for the Obama campaign to put resources in here in Georgia when they've got much closer contests in southern states like Virginia and Florida and North Carolina," Gillespie said.  However, both President Obama and former Gov. Romney have visited Georgia for fundraisers.

So Atlanta TV viewers get advertising for personal injury attorneys and loan companies-- while the campaigns for congress and president are played out elsewhere.

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