Maria Sheffield has become the first candidate in the race for Georgia’s 12th Congressional seat to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. The incumbent in this race is John Barrow, a Democrat who won his last election with 56.6% of the vote. His 2012 race, however, will not be as easy.

According to the Cook Political Report Barrow’s 2010 district went to Obama with a margin of 55% but in the redrawn district, Obama would only have garnered 44% of the vote. This lean Democrat district has flipped favorability and is rated by the Cook and Rothenberg Political Reports as leans Republican. By drawing Barrow’s home, in heavily Democratic Savannah, into a neighboring district Barrow has had to move to remain eligible to run for the seat in the 12th district. This, too, may add to his difficulty of getting re-elected next November.

The Republican favorable environment in the newly drawn 12th Congressional district has led to five candidates declaring their bids for the Republican nomination next year. Other declared candidates include construction company owner Rick W. Allen, State Representative Lee Anderson, Retired Navy Commander Wright McLeod, and businesswoman Jeanne Seaver.

By signing the Pledge, Sheffield commits to the taxpayers of Georgia she will “oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses … and oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.”

[PDF of Press Release]