Brian Walsh

In a futile attempt to fool voters on his reckless habits in Washington, Democrat Ben Chandler finds himself between a rock and a hard place.  Falling into the same category of many of his fellow incumbents, Chandler has taken to distorting his Republican challenger’s record to buy time in order to try salvaging the election.  With previous endorsement’s going to the GOP’s Andy Barr, such as the Kentucky Fraternal Order of Police, it’s clear that voters aren’t falling for the ploy.

Ben Chandler is such a reliable vote for the Pelosi-Obama agenda that the President was “OK” with him bucking the party on their takeover of healthcare because he had “had supported him on lots of other things”.  Unfortunately, those “other things” include a slew of votes that were detrimental to Kentuckians – the Democrats’ failed $787 billion “Stimulus”, increasing the national debt limit to $14.3 trillion, and the disastrous Cap-and-Trade legislation.  

Momentum is clearly on Barr’s side, and a recent poll showed him leading Chandler.  National Democrats are so scared of losing one of their most ardent supporters that they reserved advertising time in the district in attempt to buy him some air cover.  However, if the trend we’re seeing continues, Chandler could find himself cut off from funding as the race continues to slip away.

Original Post: 7/29/2010

Central Kentucky is known for its beautiful horse farms, world-renowned bourbon and the proud home of Wildcats basketball. Come November, it will take on an added significance – one of the destinations through which a Republican House majority ran. The district includes Lexington and the surrounding area. The automotive and related industries are important to the Sixth District, as both Toyota and Valvoline have made significant contributions to the local economy. 

The district is currently represented by Ben Chandler, a Democrat from Versailles, west of Lexington. Chandler, once considered a Blue Dog Democrat, has veered leftward in recent years. In 2008 he enthusiastically backed Barack Obama in the Democratic primary - one of the first signs of just how out-of-touch the congressman was becoming. Obama proceeded to get roundly trounced by Hillary Clinton in the Bluegrass State’s primary.

Chandler began this Congress by rubber-stamping President Obama’s failed stimulus plan, wasting over $850 billion in taxpayer money.  After Chandler finished supporting one of the largest misuses of federal dollars in history, he turned to the Democrat’s environmental agenda, supporting the job-killing energy tax with his vote for Cap-and-Trade. Chandler’s vote outraged the state’s business community, which is heavily reliant on coal. As a result, the congressman’s fundraising has seen a big dropoff since employers realize he’s an anti-jobs vote. In fact, his GOP challenger Andy Barr outraised him by more than 2-to-1 in the last reporting period – leading Chandler to beg for contributions from members of the Sierra Club. As if you needed further proof that Chandler blindly follows the Democrat party leadership, he votes with Nancy Pelosi 94.1% of the time.

With that kind of liberal voting record, it’s no surprise that both the Cook Political Report and the Rothenberg Political Report recently changed this race from “Likely Democrat” to the very-competitive “Lean Democrat,” a sign that Chandler’s hold on the district is slipping. This district, where Bush won with 58% in 2004 and McCain won with 55% in 2008, is ripe for a strong Republican candidate in 2010. 

Andy Barr, a Republican attorney from Lexington, fits that bill perfectly.  Andy has a strong history of community involvement – he serves on the Board of Directors of Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky, the Friends of the Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden and the Leadership Lexington Steering Committee.  His clear understanding of the conservative Kentucky values makes him an ideal choice for the Sixth District. That’s why average folks in the district are stepping up for Andy – he won a 7-way primary with a whopping 63% of the vote, and he’s already raised over $800,000 in one of the cheapest districts in the country to advertise. While no amount is ever enough, it’s clear he’ll have the resources to get his message out. In short, that message is: where Chandler has blindly supported liberal initiatives that drive federal spending up and job opportunities down, Barr has a clear agenda for cutting spending, reducing the national debt and getting Kentucky back to work.

I hope you’ll explore Andy’s website to find out more about his record as a community leader and about his plans to better represent the sixth district.  You can also follow Andy on Twitter and Facebook.


Brian Walsh

Brian Walsh is the Political Director of the National Republican Congressional Committee.