Bob Barr, the former Republican House member from Georgia Congress turned 2008 Libertarian Party presidential candidate, is seeking a political comeback by running for Congress again. He is running to replace GOP Rep. Phil Gingrey, who is running for the seat of retiring Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss.
“When I return to the Conress (sic), I will once again fight day and night to demand accountability and punishment for any IRS staffers or government officials involved in persecuting individuals for their political or religious beliefs,” Barr said in a fundraising solicitation Monday.
Long a controversial figure, Barr was first elected to Congress during the GOP takeover of 1994 and served until losing a reelection bid in 2002. An arch-conservative, he was the first to call for President Clinton’s impeachment, making the case for it even before the Monica Lewinsky scandal. He was also one of the managers who brought the case to the Senate.
Barr took hard right stands on numerous other issues, authoring the Defense of Marriage Act, opposing marijuana legalization and backing the Patriot Act, though he supported adding a sunset clause to latter.
He lost his seat after his district was re-drawn by the Democrat-led state legislature and a campaign in which Barr, a National Rifle Association board member, accidentally discharged a handgun at an event.
Once out of office, Barr began drifting away from his former conservative stances. He became a lobbyist for the American Civil Liberties Union on privacy issues. In 2006, he quit the Republican Party to join the Libertarian Party and in 2008 he ran for president on the LP ticket.
By that time he had abandoned his prior stances on gay marriage, pot legalization and said he regretted backing the Patriot Act. He sold his candidacy to skeptical libertarians by arguing that his fame among conservatives would raise the party’s national profile. He won just .4 percent of the vote that year. He has since returned to the GOP and endorsed Newt Gingrich in 2012.
Georgia’s Marietta Daily Journal reports that Barr has a shot at winning Gingrey’s seat, but the primary is currently split four ways.