Ahead in recent polls, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul came to Lexington Friday to share the spotlight with five men who want to replace U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Versailles.
Paul and the GOP congressional candidates staged a lunchtime "Take Back the House" rally outside Chandler's district office on Beaumont Centre Circle.
Paul, who faces Secretary of State Trey Grayson in the May 18 Republican primary, told a crowd of about 100 people that the Tea Party movement is a tidal wave that will sweep incumbents out of Congress in November.
"We want to spread the love to all the Republican candidates running against Ben Chandler," Paul said.
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Each GOP candidate for the 6th Congressional District spoke for a few minutes. The only candidate who didn't attend was Andy Barr of Lexington.
Mike Templeman of Frankfort said Congress has spent the country so deeply into debt that the next two generations of Americans will be hobbled. A career politician, Chandler is part of the problem, Templeman said.
"It is time for him to come home. He has never had a job. He has never got his hands dirty," Templeman said.
George Pendergrass of Georgetown called for a flat tax to reduce the burden on small business owners like himself. Perry Barnes of Nicholasville said Chandler is part of a power structure in Washington turning the country into a dictatorship.
"I want a piece of Ben Chandler's hide," Barnes said, then added: "I'm a compassionate candidate. I'm gonna help him pack."
Matt Lockett of Lexington called for term limits in Congress and a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget.
John Kemper III of Lexington said he's been self-employed for 33 years, and for that entire time he has struggled to make a living despite government. Democrats in Washington divide the voters with secondary issues, like abortion, rather than confront the nation's debt and its foreign creditors, Kemper said.
"The real question is, which part of this country do you want to give to China?" Kemper asked the crowd.
"California!" one man shouted back, to general laughter and applause.