"We really want someone more devoted," he says as caterers begin to serve the meal.
But, he asks, what's the choice? There's a big difference between Barrow and his Republican opponent, who Roper says is "no good for poor folks."
But minority votes like Roper's have been diluted in Barrow's newly drawn district.
The Georgia General Assembly had redrawn Barrow's district once before.
Barrow was first elected to Congress in 2004, the same year Republicans took control of both houses in the state legislature for the first time since Reconstruction.
Two years later, Barrow's hometown of Athens was cut from his district in an unprecedented mid-decade redistricting, and the congressman moved to Savannah. He had to move again to Augusta when his district lost Chatham County, which includes a chunk of core Democratic voters in Savannah, and gained large swaths of rural areas populated by conservative whites.
Georgia Republicans say the lines were redrawn to reflect the state's population changes.
But civil rights groups say Republicans are trying to further empower themselves by isolating black voters in majority-minority districts represented mostly by black Democrats.
"They are using race," says Anita Earls, a civil rights lawyer and executive director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.
"The Republican strategy is to try to make the Democratic Party a party of black people," she says.
That will make it more difficult for Democrats to win races in the near future, Earls says, but changing U.S. demographics -- in which minority populations are growing at faster rates than whites -- means that eventually that strategy will be doomed.
"They don't have a long-term formula for success," Earls says. "Maybe, they get a decade."
Emory's Black says the Republicans are doing what the Democrats did to them when they dominated the state assembly: drawing them out of power.
U.S. House Speaker John Boehner said as much when he spoke to the Georgia delegation at the Republican convention in Tampa.
There was only one Georgia Republican in the House when Boehner first entered Congress in 1991.
"We're going to have 10 after November -- two more," he said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
He was talking about Georgia's population gains that led to the creation of a new 14th District that's overwhelmingly GOP -- and, of course, about Barrow.
"I can't speak to the motives of the people who drew the lines," says Young, the former Augusta mayor, "but we all know that the Supreme Court has set a pretty high bar in maintaining communities of interest. These districts have passed the muster of the Obama Justice Department."
But Barrow says he feels like a target, a poster child, he says, for gerrymandering.
"No question about it," he says -- the Republicans are trying to force him out.
"But I made a promise to my voters."
It's a pledge he intends to honor -- to represent the people who have looked to him in Congress since he was first elected.
Lowell M. Greenbaum, chairman of the Democratic Party in Richmond County, says the idea that the Democratic Party can no longer attract Southern white voters is incorrect.
"Look, voters are up for grabs and parties have always responded one way or the other," he says.