2012 KY-6 Congressional race

Ben Chandler drops his first Paul Ryan hammer

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August 22, 2012
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The first of many, Lexington TV viewers:

Actually, everything in this ad is true.

Though… he does tend to mislead viewers with that last line. Ben probably shouldn’t throw stones from his glass house, because it’s hard to argue that you’re for the working class and not the rich when you vote against Wall Street reform, health care, and raising the Bush tax rate for the rich.

Barr Internal Poll Shows Him Trailing Chandler by 7 Points

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May 1, 2012
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The New York Times this morning looks at the dozen-or-so Congressional rematches across the country… and lo, there’s Ben Chandler and Garland H. Barr IV:

The pattern in New York can be seen elsewhere in the country. In the Sixth District in Kentucky, Andy Barr, a Republican, is again challenging Representative Ben Chandler, a four-term Democrat who defeated him by 647 votes in 2010.

But the rematch promises to be far different from the last race, when the two men largely battled below the national radar. This time, Republican and Democratic leaders in Washington have made the race a priority and are expected to pour huge amounts of money into it.

“This race is a rematch of the third-closest Congressional race in the country in 2010,” Mr. Barr, a lawyer, said. “We can finish the job this time.”

Okay, sure.

Except…

The Barr campaign just solicited, received and released an internal poll which spends most of its time saying how weak Ben Chandler is and how everything is stacked against him… except for the fact that Barr’s own commissioned poll found explicitly that he is trailing Ben Chandler by 7 points.

Let’s repeat that: The Barr campaign commissioned poll tries hard to paint a positive picture by downplaying its primary finding which is that Garland Hale Barr the Fourth trails Ben Chandler by 7 points.

Look:

In a rematch of the third-closest Congressional race in the country in 2010, being down 7 points isn’t exactly great news… especially when its coming from a poll your own campaign paid for.

[via DailyKos, you can see the campaign's full pdf here]

Also fun… recently came across a blog which is creating caricatures of every single member of Congress… it’s good fun and heeeeeeeere’s Ben:

Blue Dogs of a Feather

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April 19, 2012
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The Blue Dog Extinction watch continues:

Of the 24 remaining Blue Dogs, five are not seeking reelection. More than a half-dozen others are facing treacherous contests in which their reelection hopes are in jeopardy.

It’s a rough time to occupy the right wing of the Democratic Party.

“It’s a tough environment out there,” said former Alabama Rep. Bud Cramer, a longtime member of the House Blue Dog Coalition. “Their numbers are down. Redistricting has not been kind to them.”

The article, from Politico, mistakenly claims that Chandler’s redistricting problem is compounded by running in a state in which Obama is wildly unpopular. The redistricting plan passed in Kentucky was actually mostly kind to all incumbents and Chandler’s position was strengthened. He does of course still have the Obama problem, but then he also has the problem that he’s consistently voted against his own consistuents on environmental protections, women’s rights and providing aid to starving children and HIV-infected women around the world.

In terms of fundraising, Chandler came out a bit on top of his Tea Pandering opponent, Garland Barr IV in the latest report:

Rep. Ben Chandler (D-Ky.) raised more than $220,000 and has just over $1 million in the bank. That’s slightly more than the $180,000 raised by Republican Andy Barr, who lost to Chandler in 2010 and is seeking a rematch.

Getting back to the Blue Dogs, an internal party soap opera finds one of their members, Jason Altmire of Pennsylvania, locked in a primary fight against  Democrat, Mark Critz. The Blue Dog Altmire is unfairly attacking Critz as — get this — less of a Democrat:

Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.) has exasperated a number of senior House Democrats by running attack ads against his primary opponent, Rep. Mark Critz (D-Pa.), that they see as unfair distortions.

Altmire voted “no” instead of “present” on a conservative budget proposal in April 2011, splitting with party leaders on a tactical vote they were using to embarrass the GOP. Critz joined the majority of Democrats with his “present” vote. But now Altmire is running ads saying that Critz “failed to stand up to the Tea Party” on the bill.

The move angered a number of senior Democrats. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) put out a statement defending Critz on the vote, and Reps. Robert Brady (D-Pa.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) hosted a conference call defending him.

The Hill goes on to report that the only people supporting Altmire’s sad attacks are, of course, his fellow Blue Dogs:

All of Altmire’s backing comes from fellow Blue Dog Coalition members: Reps. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.), Ben Chandler (D-Ky.), Jim Matheson (D-Utah), Mike Ross (D-Ark.) and Dan Boren (D-Okla.).

Dogs of a feather.

Larry Sabato says KY-06 is Chandler’s to lose

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April 10, 2012
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Not the most shocking news in the world, but he said it and now Garland Barr IV can complain about it instead of running an effective campaign:

Turning to upcoming Kentucky races, in the 6th District, Ben Chandler is running against Andy Barr. What effect will the presidential race have on that race, and what effect might redistricting have?

It looks like the new redistricting plan in Kentucky was essentially an incumbent-protection map. As such, Chandler received some help from the new lines after having an extremely close call in 2010. If he managed to survive the 2010 GOP wave, it’s harder to see Chandler losing in a presidential year when turnout will be higher and when his district is centered around the fairly blue city (and college town) of Lexington.

We rate the seat as “Likely Democratic” at the moment, which means he’s favored to win re-election.

Sabato, the political analyst, goes on to predict a Yarmuth victory in KY-3 and a McConnell victory in 2014… unless Steve Beshear quits Frankfort for the big showdown.

Mr. Sabato will be speaking in Louisville on the 17th, if that’s your thang.

Fineman on Basketball

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March 27, 2012
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I’m probably the only blogger here who doesn’t care all that much about college basketball (as my bracket attests), and to me, this month is largely about drinking margaritas and discussing feminism once a week to celebrate Women’s History Month. But when March madness comes along, I usually throw my allegiances toward Western, my alma mater (go Topps!) and UofL, my adopted home team. My general disinterest in the sport has not stopped several people from sending me this Howard Fineman piece on the intrastate rivalry, however, so I thought I’d share. Frankly, I will be relieved when this is all over, so we can focus on the things that are really important, like political politics and baseball.

(edit: decent WSJ coverage as well)

Blue Dogs Raking in Cash

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March 21, 2012
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While their numbers dwindle, the Blue Dog Democrats are raking in large amounts of cash to keep their special brand of Republican apologetics alive:

Center for Responsive Politics research shows that 17 of the lawmakers had healthier campaign bank accounts in 2011 than in 2009, as they geared up for midterm elections in 2010.

Tennessee Rep. Jim Cooper leads the pack in fundraising growth, hauling in about $634,000, an increase of 112 percent from 2009. Incumbent Reps. Mike McIntyre of North Carolina and Ben Chandler of Kentucky have also made solid gains of 74 percent and 56 percent, respectively, from their 2009 levels.

Ben Chandler raised $571,909 in 2009, compared to $893,140 in 2011.

On the flip side, Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, the House Majority Whip, was in Louisiville recently keynoting a GOP Young Guns fundraiser for Garland Barr IV, Chandler’s opponent — CN|2′s Pure Politics has the video.

Garland has raised $431,000 so far.

11 from the bottom of this, 7 from the bottom of that…

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March 5, 2012
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National Journal has its 2011 Vote Ratings out, ranking the state delegations by their liberal and conservative votes.

As you see to the left, Kentucky is way to the right. Pat yourselves on the back!

The Natty has full breakdowns for all our Senators and Representatives. You can view their ranking issue here, with various articles, pdfs and so forth. You can also check James Carroll’s article in the C-J, which breaks out each of our esteemed leaders one-by-one. Here’s the tale of the tape on the 6th:

Kentucky’s other House Democrat, Rep. Ben Chandler of the 6th District, had a voting record that reflected the more centrist area around Lexington that he represents. He ranked as the 181st most liberal (with a composite score of 57.8) and 249th most conservative (with a score of 42.2). He ranked more liberal than 59 percent of the House on social issues, and more conservative than 43 percent of the House on foreign issues.

The House of Representatives has 435 members, of which 242 are Republicans and 192 are Democrats.

Chandler ranked 181st most left leaning and 249th most right leaning which puts him about 11 away from the bottom of the Dems and seven away from the bottom of the Republicans.

Make of that — excuses or exclamations — what you will.

Tiger Woods by Dan Bern on Grooveshark

Man of the people, Garland H. Barr IV, gonna tour the district

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February 22, 2012
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Garland Barr the Fourth is getting his campaign together and he’s gonna have his driver take him on a little tour. Alessi reports:

Barr said he’s still working on the schedule of campaign stops that will take him through the seven new counties to the 6th District — Bath, Menifee, Nicholas, Robertson, Wolfe and Fleming counties and part of Harrison County — as well as Clark, Montgomery, Powell and Estill counties. Those last four remain in the 6th District after the once-a-decade reapportionment process to make sure the populations of the districts are even.

Alessi also gets Garland on the record with his various economic views which once again demonstrates his problem — as a Tea Panderer he kinda understands what he’s supposed to say but he also kinda understands that it doesn’t all make sense, thus, Garland gets confused.

Joe sums it up:

So we won’t be able to spend money on government projects if we’re in debt. But spending money on infrastructure is good. But taxes should be lowered. But government spending itself is bad. And raising government revenues is bad. Even though debt is also bad. Because it limits government spending on infrastructure.

If you can decipher Garland’s positions, then you can also decipher this… (it’s Not Safe For Work, folks, so David Williams: close the door.)

 

Republican Party pushes Garland Barr IV to wave white flag

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February 13, 2012
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A quick roundup of Congressional redistricting finds Andy Barr giving up in the 6th after his fellow Republicans strengthened themselves and left the Tea Panderer out in the cold.

The bill was signed into law on Friday by Gov. Beshear. After the House and Senate failed to come to an agreement on their own maps, House Speaker Greg Stumbo and 5th District Congressman Hal Rogers got together and crafted a map of their own.

That map strengthens all incumbents, including Ben Chandler. This angered 6th District area Republicans, like state Sen. Damon Thayer. A week after trying to expunge the area’s own Senator, Thayer was forced to pivot, flip-flopping his position so that now he finds himself incensed and offended by the redistricting process. Our hearts go out to him, and the others. From the CJ:

Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr, R-Lexington, called HB 302 the “Ben Chandler Lifetime Employment Act.”

Thayer called the bill an “insult” to the people of Central Kentucky and described it as “horrific.”

….Rep. Stan Lee, R-Lexington, complained that “we have turned our allegiance more to the congressional delegation than to the taxpayers.” He said the people in his district oppose the plan.

Rep. Lonnie Napier, R-Lancaster, said his constituents don’t want to move from the 6th District to the 2nd, as the plan requires.

He said the people in his district are “not a bit happy.”

Now unlike Thayer’s plan to disappear Kathy Stein, the Hal Rogers compromise map doesn’t do anything too crazy… it just shifts a few lines and Brett Guthrie should be a) concerned, and b) offended that so many Republicans are unhappy about now having his conservative credentials as their new Congressman.

What do Fayette-area Republicans have against Brett Guthrie?

Garland Barr IV was similarly offended by Hal Rogers’ plan. He said:

It’s weird that Barr and his Republican allies have taken this opportunity not to welcome their new voters or accept any challenge, but rather to throw up their hands, waving the white flag.

If you want to call it the “Ben Chandler Lifetime Employment Act” and you want to spend your time appealing to voters who can no longer vote for you because they are now represented by Brett Guthrie, that’s your choice, but it’s not particularly smart to declare your race lost while simultaneously alienating and denigrating your new voters.

[Check the HL for maps.]

The only explanation for why Barr and his allies would crap all over Hal Rogers and the Republican power nexus that crafted these maps is that the Barr campaign is continuing its strategy of pandering to the Tea Party.

Cynically believing the Tea Partiers and rank and file conservative activists to be total idiots, Andy Barr is trying to make them believe this was all Ben Chandler’s doing. Which is simply not true. Barr and 6th District republicans were pawned by Rogers and the Republican controlled delegation to make the other districts more conservative.

Each of the four Republican members, Reps. Brett Guthrie, Ed Whitfield, Hal Rogers and retiring Rep. Geoff Davis, are drawn into conservative-oriented seats.

There is a catch for Republicans, however: In keeping their House members safe, they also bolstered Democratic Rep. Ben Chandler by shifting more Democratic voters into his district. Chandler is a top GOP target who survived the 2010 election in one of the closest races of the year. Under the plan, Chandler’s Lexington-based 6th District seat will become slightly more Democratic-friendly.

Sonka/LEO’s Fat Lip has more on both the internal GOP squabbling that led to this compromise, as well as some sharp words from Ms. Kathy Stein for Thayer and Kerr and a quick numbers game looking at how the new 6th might alter vote turnouts for Barr and Chandler.

GOP internal squabbling leads to congressional redistricting deal

Though it looked like congressional redistricting would go to the courts, since the legislature couldn’t reach a compromise, that will no longer be the case. A wild morning full of emotions and accusations lead to the passage of House Bill 302, which will now go in the books and finalize the boundaries for congressional districts in Kentucky.

Though an agreement appeared to be reached a week ago, it was nixed at the last minute by central Kentuckian Republicans, particularly Sen. Damon Thayer and 6th District congressional candidate Andy Barr, who got Tea Partiers from their area to flood Republican senators with calls telling them not to agree to it. While the deal reached eased the concerns of Republicans in other districts, it does give Chandler a slightly more favorable district than what he previously had. In nixing the deal, several Republicans were quite liberal in expressing their anger at Barr for sabotaging it (particularly Tom Jensen).

Click it and go.

Garland Barr IV trades in his dock shoes for assless chaps

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February 8, 2012
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Tea Panderer Garland Barr IV (colloquially, “Andy”) got a boost the other day. While he complains about the Congressional redistricting stalemate (here, here), the smart guys at the Grand Ol’ National Party have decided to upgrade Garlandy from near junk bond status.

As CN|2 reports, they think he’s a “Young Gun”:

“We are looking forward to working with Andy Barr, who has already proven himself by meeting rigorous benchmarks in the ‘Young Guns’ program that will position his campaign for victory,” said NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions of Texas said in a statement. “Andy Barr’s dedication and experience enables him to advocate effectively for pro-growth policies and fight the failed status quo in Washington.”

Barr raised $112,319 in the last quarter of 2011 and more than $427,000 since announcing his candidacy in June. He started 2012 with $364,584 on hand.

Two other Republicans — Patrick Kelly II of Lexington and Curtis Kenimer of Paris — also have filed for the 6th District GOP primary.

Apparently his decision to support the destruction of Medicare sat well with party bigwigs, spurring them to hand him these big boy pants… or chaps.

You can contribute to Garland via his new Young Republican Dating Site (R Date).

This seems like as good a time as any to revisit the GOP’s campaign ad for their Young Guns falling off a cliff.

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