Tom Eblen

Did McGrath or Barr win debate? Your reaction shows what it will take to win election.

McGrath vs Barr: Watch the Kentucky congressional candidates make their pitch to voters

Retired Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath, a Democrat, and U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Lexington, are making their cases to Kentucky voters in the Sixth Congressional District as Election Day nears.
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Retired Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath, a Democrat, and U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Lexington, are making their cases to Kentucky voters in the Sixth Congressional District as Election Day nears.

Who won last night’s 6th District congressional debate on Kentucky Educational Television between incumbent Republican Andy Barr and Democratic challenger Amy McGrath?

Your answer probably depends on whom you supported before it began. Looking at comments on social media today, it is as if each candidate’s supporters had watched a different debate.

The headline of the evening was McGrath calling out Barr several times for “lies” about her positions in the debate and numerous TV attack ads. Barr responded by saying her comments show she isn’t running the positive campaign she claims.

Otherwise, the candidates did competent jobs of emphasizing their talking points and criticizing their opponent.

The race is seen as a national bellwether on President Donald Trump. Will his historic unpopularity beyond his political base translate into Democrats regaining control of the House of Representatives?

Barr is a solid Trump supporter who brought the president to Richmond last week to campaign for him. Like many Democratic candidates this election cycle, McGrath rarely mentions Trump’s name, focusing instead on issues such as health care.

The race at this point is a tossup, according to Nate Silver, the national political statistics guru who runs the website FiveThirtyEight.com. Based on analysis of polling, he gives McGrath has a 52.7 percent chance of winning, compared to Barr’s 47.3 percent chance.

Will last night’s debate make a difference? I doubt it. Most voters seem to have made up their minds. The big question is which candidate’s supporters will be more motivated to actually get out and vote on Nov. 6.

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