Chandler, Barr criss-cross 6th District on final weekend

jbrammer@herald-leader.comNovember 4, 2012 

U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, center, knocked on doors in North Lexington with Michael Haskins, left, and Councilman Chris Ford Sunday.

PHOTO BY JACK BRAMMER

Democrat Ben Chandler and Republican Andy Barr searched for more votes Sunday in their tight race for Congress while offering different views on what's at stake in Tuesday's election for the people of Central Kentucky's 6th District.

Both candidates said they are not worried about their political futures regardless of who is the victor.

"Heavens, no," said Chandler, who has held the Congressional seat since 2004 after losing a 2003 bid for governor to Republican Ernie Fletcher.

"No matter what happens Tuesday, it's not going to change my political situation very much I don't think," Chandler said. "I've lost races before, and I got this same question when I ran for governor."

Chandler has been mentioned as a possible candidate for governor in 2015. When asked about it, he said he is only focused on this year's race for Congress.

Barr, a Lexington attorney who lost to Chandler by only 648 votes in the 2010 election for the 6th District seat, said in a phone interview Sunday that he is "not worried about my political future at all. I'm worried about the people of the 6th District and Kentucky."

Barr's campaign declined to release in advance specifics of his Sunday campaign schedule.

Barr said what's at stake for the people of the district is "having a member of Congress who is their advocate, who will fight for jobs for them instead of having a congressman who is for more debt, regulations and taxes."

Barr started Sunday at the Bethel Baptist Church in Frenchburg. He then ate lunch at the community's Cornbread Café and then visited with businessmen and coal miners in Wolfe County.

Chandler attended a worship service at Imani Baptist Church in Lexington before campaigning door-to-door Sunday afternoon in North Lexington.

He told reporters "much is on the line" Tuesday for the residents of the 19-county district.

"Do they want to have an opportunity as the middle class?" Chandler said. "Do they want to see the middle class expand or watch it shrink? I believe our plans and purposes to get the economy moving put the middle class first.

"It's very different from the Republican approach that says let the wealthy create the jobs and that will trickle down to the middle class. I don't think that works."

Chandler said the race is close but heavy voter turnout, primarily generated by the presidential race, will help his cause. Democrats outnumber Republicans in the district 292,805 to 166,788.

But Barr said many Democrats as well as Republicans in the district will turn out to vote against the highly unpopular Democratic President Barack Obama and support him.

Chandler is to take a bus tour of the district Monday with Gov. Steve Beshear, Attorney General Jack Conway, Auditor Adam Edelen, Treasurer Todd Hollenbach, ex-UK coach Joe B. Hall and others.

His campaign said Lexington Mayor Jim Gray will be at Fayette County Democratic Party headquarters Monday morning to help kick off the tour.

"Lexington is the key to the race," Chandler said, noting that it has more than 40 percent of the district's votes.

Barr on Monday will wrap up his weeklong "Re-Energizing Kentucky Bus Tour" of the district with visits to Clark, Estill, Madison, Woodford, Scott and Fayette counties. He is to hold a rally late in the day in Georgetown with state Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, and state Rep. Ryan Quarles, R-Georgetown, followed by a rally in Lexington.

Jack Brammer: (502) 227-1198. Twitter: @BGPolitics. Blog: bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com

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