Anderson has played up his rural Georgia roots. But some people around here don't think much of his farming background. "He ain't never cut anything but hay," Anderson's critics like to say.
A weak opponent could save the day for Barrow, and so far Anderson has not shown to be otherwise, Emory's Black says. The Rothenberg Report, a non-partisan political handicapper, is now characterizing the 12th District race as "toss-up/tilt Democrat."
"This district is one that should have never been a headache for the GOP, but after getting a weak nominee in state Rep. Lee Anderson, really is setting in for many Republican operatives," Rothenberg said. "Anderson's weakness isn't the only factor in this race. Rep. John Barrow has run a good race with terrific TV ads meant to demonstrate his political independence and get voters to focus on him and not on his party."
The report cited Barrow for distancing himself from the "the stereotypical Democratic label."
Anderson has refused to debate Barrow, demanding that he pronounce his presidential choice in front of a camera so as to not deceive voters.
"I want him to tell the truth," Anderson says. "Sometimes he's an independent. Sometimes he's a Democrat. Sometimes, who knows?"
Barrow says he has already said he will vote for Obama and that Anderson just doesn't want to talk about the issues.
Bob Young, a well-known Georgia Republican who served as mayor of Augusta in the early 2000s, says Anderson is making a mistake by not confronting Barrow in a public face-off.
"From my perspective, I want to see my Republican candidate take on the opposition head to head, toe to toe, here in the district," Young says.
"This campaign is not being waged in front of the people," Young says. "At the end of the day, I'm a Republican. But (Anderson) makes it hard."
It's not as hard for Young's wife, Gwen Fulcher Young, who made up her mind not just to vote for Barrow but actively solicit votes for him.
"My wife has gone rogue," Young jokes. But he adds that he can see the attraction to Barrow.
"He has built a reputation for constituent service," Young says. "People relate to a congressman who relates to them. Barrow's a known quantity."
The presidential vote could also affect the outcome of Barrow's race, says Galloway.
"In Georgia, Mitt Romney was the second choice for many Republican voters," Galloway says. "There are some indications of a lack of enthusiasm. And that means a disenchanted (GOP) turnout."
Barrow looks at it differently: the more voters, the better.
"Presidential turnout is always the best no matter who's on the ballot," he says.
It's like every church that has members who show up only one time of the year, he says. On Easter Sunday.
Black and white
Barrow's campaign sent out more than 500 invitations for an early evening dinner at a rented event space in Douglas called The Atrium. It's a building that was recently rehabbed by developer Francis Lott, who hung up his Democratic credentials for the GOP about 15 years ago.
About 30 people show up for pulled pork barbecue and green beans just as dark clouds begin to scatter in the sky. Many are African-Americans who make up Barrow's core support in rural Georgia.
John Barrow shares a meal with supporters in Douglas, Georgia. Some black voters perceived Barrow as distancing himself from the Democratic party to win votes.
They don't care much for the fact that Barrow voted against the president's Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. Or that he voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with congressional subpoenas related to the deadly Operation Fast and Furious scandal.
They don't think Barrow ought to be distancing himself from the president the way they thought he did by not attending the Democratic National Convention.
If you're going to be a Democrat, then be a Democrat, says Johnny Roper, who served on the Douglas city commission for 27 years.