Ad Wars Begin In Bellwether Sixth District Race

Aug 7, 2018

The closely-watched race for Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District seat started heating up this week with incumbent Republican Andy Barr veering negative in only his second post-primary ad.

What started as a relatively quiet general election season ramped up Monday with a fresh attack ad released by the Barr campaign, painting Democratic newcomer Amy McGrath as too liberal for the Bluegrass state.

"Who is Amy McGrath?" the narrator asks, before viewers are treated to black-and-white clips of the former fighter pilot taking questions on a series of hot button issues from abortion to feminism to President Donald Trump's border wall. The spot concludes with McGrath’s name surrounded by the words “progressive," "feminist," and "no border wall…” among others.

The retired Marine returned fire on Twitter, recalling the moments she spent on a runway on September 11, 2001 awaiting orders to defend the homeland. She then asked Barr what sacrifice he’s made for his country over his party, a theme that reappeared the following day in her first advertisement of the general election campaign season.

In the 30-second spot, McGrath leans on her military experience, promising to bring a teamwork mindset to a bitterly-divided Capitol Hill.

"And Congress doesn't think that way," she says. "Too many there refuse to work with the other side."

The candidates rejoin the airwaves as another national election-watcher, Roll Call, moved the race from the "leans Republican" column to a toss-up on Monday, a move the non-partisan Cook Political Report made in June. The latter recently listed Barr as facing the “greatest risk” of an urban-rural divide favoring Democrats. Political data aggregator Real Clear Politics still gives Barr the edge, categorizing the race as "leans GOP."

President Trump won the district by more than 15 points in 2016.