Tea Party disappointment with establishment Republicans in Congress has yielded a challenger to U.S. Rep. Andy Barr in the May 17 primary.
Roger Q. Brill, who is active in Harrison County’s Tea Party and Republican Party, said he ran because he realized that if he didn’t, Barr would be unopposed for the nomination, leaving no option for Republicans who are disillusioned with the two-term incumbent.
Brill, owner of a steel-fabricating business, says Barr’s actions in Congress have fallen short of his conservative rhetoric. Brill takes special exception to four votes since late 2014 in which Barr sided with Democrats, including three spending bills and the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.
If you think that Republicans should force the federal government to shut down and risk national defaults to accomplish such things as defunding Planned Parenthood and changing immigration policy, Brill’s your man.
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If, like us, you think that such brinkmanship and drama hurt the Republican Party, Congress and the country, Barr is the better choice.
We can’t disagree with Brill’s assessment of Barr as an establishment Republican, though. Barr has mastered the party talking points while becoming a prodigious fundraiser in his two terms in Congress.
As a member of the Financial Services Committee, he has raked in campaign contributions from the financial industry, including predatory lenders and big banks that have adopted climate-friendly policies against financing the coal industry in this country. Barr unseated Ben Chandler in 2012 by portraying the Democrat as anti-coal.
Barr has taken special aim at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was created in response to the sub-prime lending crisis that required the 2008 bank bailout. The bureau is supposed to protect consumers from unfair and misleading practices in the financial markets. Barr says its over-regulation is strangling credit and making it too difficult for small businesses, farmers and consumers to get loans.
Barr, who calls for increased defense spending, serves on a task force that is investigating terrorism financing. He has made fact-finding trips to Iraq, Israel, Jordan and Afghanistan.
Barr, an attorney from Lexington, has organized his office to stay in touch with 6th District residents and local elected officials of both parties. He is the better choice for Republicans.
The unendorsed candidate may submit a 250-word response by noon Wednesday.