Robert Novak has the scoop on Max Burns, the GOP Congressman who beat Barbara Dooley, wife of Vince Dooley–UGA God, in the primary and then a Democrat in the 12th Congressional District, specifically drawn for a Democrat.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), in its uphill climb to regain control of the House, has targeted four freshman Republicans: Reps. Max Burns of Georgia, Bob Beauprez of Colorado, Mike Rogers of Alabama and Rick Renzi of Arizona.

Beauprez, Rogers and Renzi all won narrowly in 2002, with Beauprez squeaking in by only 121 votes in his suburban Denver district. A Colorado Republican redistricting effort to strengthen Beauprez’s district was thrown out in court. He now faces a tougher Democrat than he defeated in 2002: Columbine prosecutor Dave Thomas.

Burns won by 55 percent in the Augusta, Ga., district, but he was opposed by a convicted criminal. “He can’t win in that district unless he’s running against a crook,” claims a Democratic operative. Burns’ 2004 opponent will be Athens-Clarke County Commissioner John Barrow.

[Ed– I have a disclosure at the bottom of this post]Phil Gingrey (R-Ga), the 11th District Congressman in Georgia fell off the Dem’s radar because he has been a prolific fundraiser and the Dems in the 11th can’t get their act together, partly because of the way the district is drawn.

Max Burns, on the other hand, has not been very pro-active in raising money despite high hopes for him — in fact, higher hopes for him than Gingrey. Originally, party activists thought Burns would have an easier time getting re-elected than Gingrey.

Disclosure: I ran a campaign against Gingrey that made it to the 2002 runoff, where we were crushed. Gingrey was, even then, a pro at fundraising. I am friends with Burns’ new Chief of Staff.