In the final weekend of Central Kentucky's 6th Congressional District race that has been marked with harsh words and negative ads, Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler and Republican nominee Andy Barr spent Saturday urging their supporters to vote Tuesday.
"The whole key to this is who shows up Tuesday," Chandler said during a rally Saturday morning at the Fayette County Democratic Party headquarters on South Broadway.
The rally, which attracted about 100 people, featured former University of Kentucky basketball coach Joe B. Hall, state Auditor Adam Edelen and several state legislators and legislative candidates.
Barr, a Lexington attorney who lost to Chandler in 2010 by only 648 votes, participated Saturday in the fourth day of his "Re-Energizing Kentucky Bus Tour." It is to take him to all 19 counties in the district in the final week of the race.
On Saturday, the Barr tour went to Jessamine, Montgomery, Powell and Madison counties. The tour will travel to Wolfe and Menifee counties Sunday and conclude Monday with visits to Clark, Madison and Scott counties. Rallies will be held late in the day in Georgetown and Lexington.
At a rally late Saturday at a mall in Richmond, Barr urged about 300 supporters to "work every hour until the polls close Tuesday" to propel him to victory.
"We're going to need a fighter in Washington who will fight for Kentucky and not for Barack Obama," he said to loud cheers. Barr told reporters earlier that he is "absolutely not" trying to suppress voter turnout Tuesday. "We're trying to get out the vote as much as possible, convert as many people as we can to our side and get the undecideds in our camp."
Barr contended that his message "that we can do better" is "resonating across party lines. If you're a Democrat or a Republican looking for a job, you want the economy to recover."
Barr also said his campaign will position attorneys in every county clerk's office Tuesday night in the district.
"We're not anticipating any irregularities. We just want to make sure that if it is another repeat of 2010, we will be prepared."
Chandler is to spend the final full day of the campaign with a bus tour Monday of the district. Joining him will be Gov. Steve Beshear, Attorney General Jack Conway, Treasurer Todd Hollenbach, Hall, Edelen, and others.
Chandler said Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes declined to go on the tour because she is the state's chief elections officer. He added that Grimes and her father, former Democratic Party Chairman Jerry Lundergan, support his campaign.
Besides campaigning in Lexington Saturday, Chandler visited Stanton, Frenchburg and Georgetown. He is to knock on doors for votes Sunday in Fayette County.
At the Lexington rally Saturday morning, former Fayette County Democratic Chair David O'Neill claimed that Republicans are trying to suppress voter turnout on Tuesday.
A higher turnout favors Democrats, who outnumber Republicans in the district 292,805 to 166,788.
Chandler told the crowd that he expects a close election and that Fayette County could make a difference in the outcome. "We have to win and win big here," he said.
Chandler later told reporters he feels "good" about the election. Hall, decked out in a UK-blue sports jacket with a white sweater, said he has been a Democrat all his life and that the Democratic Chandler family has been known in Kentucky for years.
He noted Chandler's late grandfather, Gov. A.B. "Happy" Chandler, often sang My Old Kentucky Home at UK basketball games.
"The apple doesn't fall far from the tree," Hall said of Rep. Chandler.
Hall said he doesn't know Barr and doesn't think many Kentuckians do. State Sen. Kathy Stein, D-Lexington, said Barr, "just came down from the Tower of Babel" in commenting on what she said are Barr's position on issues in the race. Edelen called Barr "a nice guy but his views are extreme."
State Sen. Julian Carroll of Frankfort, who also is a former governor, said Chandler needs to be elected or Republicans "will continue their assault on the middle class and programs for the elderly and for education."
Jack Brammer: (502) 227-1198. Twitter: @BGPolitics. Blog: bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com