Georgia's Higher Barr

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In Georgia's 7th congressional district, in the suburbs of Atlanta, Republican Representative Bob Barr — a man who called for Bill Clinton to be impeached months before anybody had ever heard of Monica Lewinsky — is hanging on to a slight edge in his struggle for a fourth term in Congress. Part of the problem is a tough opponent. Roger Kahn is a wealthy Atlanta businessman who has already spent $2 million of his own money on an aggressive campaign. And part of Barr's problem is himself.

Barr went to Congress in 1994 as the most bellicose spear carrier in the Gingrich revolution. He hates liberals with a special glee. But Barr's district is in demographic flux, with an infusion of Hispanics and transplanted Northerners. There were signs of trouble two years ago, when Barr faced an unknown Democratic challenger who spent just $14,000 — vs. Barr's $1.4 million — but still collected 45% of the vote.

Kahn, who has never run for office, is a tough target for Barr, whose fang-baring campaign style is hard to use against a man with no record to attack. Describing himself as a conservative to the right of Clinton and Al Gore, Kahn supports gun rights — a litmus test in his district. And he can paint Barr as a man devoted to faraway causes. Kahn has made a lot of the fact that in the same fortnight Barr was chastising a Texas military base for holding a "Wiccan" service, one that a constituent complained promoted witchcraft, the local Lockheed plant in Atlanta, a major employer in the district, laid off 2,000 workers. "I don't mind a good fight," says Barr. He's got one.

— Reported by David Nordan/Atlanta