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Sixth District Congressional Race Hotly Contested

By Alan Lytle


Lexington, KY – Republican nominee and Tea Party favorite Andy Barr, a candidate who has never held elective office represents Chandler's toughest challenge to date to hold onto his seat. And just like Kentucky's hotly contested U-S Senate race, this contest has been marked with a flood of negative campaign ads, not just from the respective candidates, but outside groups as well.

With Congressional approval ratings at or near all time lows, and an economy yet to be restored to pre-recessional levels, Democrats, including Chandler, have largely been playing defense this election year, asking voters to have patience, insisting that the country is on the right track with needed fiscal reforms. Conversely, the party out of power has had the easier case to make to voters this year, banging the drum of wasteful government spending, and a Congress out of control. Those ideological differences were never more evident than during a recent Chandler Barr debate on Kentucky Educational Television. In addition to chiding each other over the abundance of negative ads, the two also sparred over extending the Bush tax cuts, the health care overhaul, as well as the federal stimulus package.

And perhaps one of the more contentious Kentucky-centered issues of the campaign is one of energy policy; namely the Cap and Trade Bill which was designed to curb carbon emissions. Chandler voted for it, only to see the measure tabled by the Senate. Barr, in turn says he doesn't support the initiative; claiming it would cost an estimated 35-thousand jobs and take away a competitive advantage Kentucky currently enjoys, namely cheap energy produced by coal.

A Lexington Herald Leader poll released late last week gives the incumbent a four point lead, but that's well within the margin of error. University of Kentucky Political Science Professor Don Gross says even in a tough election campaign season like this one, Chandler may buck the trend, but it's all likely to come down to voter turnout.