John Stone, a top House Republican aide, will mount a bid against Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga., in 2014.
“Get ready, Mr. Barrow," Stone confirmed in an interview today with CQ Roll Call.
A number of candidates have been eying the race against Barrow, a longtime Republican target who represents a district that voted for Mitt Romney in November. But Stone appears to be the first to decide on a run.
Stone lost the seat to Barrow by more than 30 points in 2008. Stone, now chief of staff to Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, said he will resign his Capitol Hill position this summer to make a second run against the five-term congressman.
The district has changed since Stone's last attempt. Republicans redrew the 12th District boundaries following redistricting, making it a more GOP-friendly seat.
But Barrow defeated state Rep. Lee Anderson, a Republican, by more than seven points in a heavily targeted race in 2012. This cycle, the National Republican Congressional Committee has already indicated he is one of its top seven targets.
This time around, Stone hopes to have more resources from the NRCC and a higher-profile consulting team than his first run.
Previously, Stone served for a decade as a top aide to the late Rep. Charlie Norwood, R-Ga., plus worked for Rep. Max Burns, another Georgia Republican, who Barrow unseated in 2004.
Stone said he intends to challenge Barrow to a debate "every two weeks from the end of the primary until the general election, and he’s not getting out of it this time.”
Stone said his main campaign message will focus on the economy of the district and the area’s relatively high unemployment rate. He also is concerned about balancing the federal budget and updating the tax code.