WASHINGTON – Just months after a Georgia colleague ousted him from Congress, Bob Barr is angling for a possible return to the House and could announce his intentions soon.
The fiery impeachment manager defeated by Rep. John Linder in last year's GOP primary is eyeing the 6th District seat being vacated by Johnny Isakson, who is running for Senate in 2004.
Barr says he hasn't ruled out a Senate run, but an attempted revival of his House career appears more likely. The 6th District includes little of the territory Barr represented for eight years in another suburban Atlanta district, but it is solidly Republican. Former Speaker Newt Gingrich was its congressman before Isakson.
"I'm taking a very close and hard look at it," Barr said Thursday in an interview with The Associated Press. "I hope to make a decision with my family very shortly."
Barr acknowledged speaking with freshman Rep. Phil Gingrey, a close friend, about a possible district swap that would let Gingrey run in the 6th and Barr to run in northwest Georgia's 11th District, more familiar to him.
However, Gingrey says he isn't interested in such a trade even though his home is just inside the 6th District line. Barr now concedes it's no longer a viable option.
"That is a district I made a conscious decision to run in," said Gingrey, who narrowly defeated Democrat Roger Kahn in November. "I wouldn't want to give up one of those constituents."
An articulate, sometimes outspoken orator, Barr gained national attention as the first lawmaker to call for President Clinton's resignation over the Monica Lewinsky scandal. He was also one of the House prosecutors who pressed the case that the Senate should expel him.
The conservative lawmaker was the gun lobby's congressional liaison but also often sided with liberals in defending privacy rights. The American Civil Liberties Union recently hired him as one of its few conservative consultants. Barr is also working part time for the American Conservative Union, Oliver North's Freedom Alliance and as a commentator for Cable News Network.
Isakson's announcement for Senate creates the first of what could be many vacancies in Georgia's House delegation for the 2004 elections. Democratic Sen. Zell Miller said earlier this month he won't run again, and several congressmen of both parties are eyeing the seat.