Politics & Government

National Democrats buy radio time in Lexington, targeting Andy Barr on health care

Barr says he's happy with the White House's agenda

When asked whether he's happy with the job President Donald Trump is doing, U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Lexington, danced around the question and said he's happy with the agenda coming from the White House.
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When asked whether he's happy with the job President Donald Trump is doing, U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Lexington, danced around the question and said he's happy with the agenda coming from the White House.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced Thursday that it will run radio ads targeting U.S. Rep. Andy Barr for his efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

The ads are the first of the 2018 congressional campaign and indicate that national Democrats view Barr as a vulnerable incumbent. Central Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District is one of 11 selected by the DCCC for this round of advertising.

“This signals confidence in the candidates they expect to field,” said Stephen Voss, a political science professor at the University of Kentucky.

Currently, three Democrats are vying for the chance to take on Barr in the general election: former Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath of Georgetown, state Sen. Reggie Thomas of Lexington, and perennial candidate Geoff Young of Lexington. Lexington Mayor Jim Gray has remained silent about whether he’ll enter the Democratic primary.

The ad, set to run on five radio stations in the Lexington area, focus on Barr’s vote in the House for a GOP-backed effort to repeal and replace Obamacare.

“Congressman Barr already voted to raise your out-of-pocket costs and premiums, to gut Medicaid and treatment for opioid addiction, impose what the AARP calls a devastating age tax if you’re 50 or older, and end guaranteed coverage for pre-existing conditions like asthma, diabetes, even cancer,” a female narrator says in the ad.

Barr’s support of the bill drew large crowds of opponents to his subsequent town hall meetings in the district, where he praised the bill because it would have eliminated several taxes imposed by the Affordable Care Act and decreased the national debt by restricting the growth of Medicaid.

A spokeswoman for the National Republican Congressional Committee said the DCCC’s radio ad “highlights their preference for playing political games over getting things done.”

“Democrats have done literally nothing to improve the dire state of Obamacare in Kentucky,” said spokeswoman Maddie Anderson. “With premiums rising 75 percent since 2013, it would have been malpractice for Congressman Barr to sit back and watch the marketplace crumble and his constituents suffer.”

She accused Democrats of “trying to prop up Nancy Pelosi’s hand-picked candidate who has never lived in Central Kentucky,” a reference to McGrath, who moved back to Kentucky this summer after serving 20 years in the military.

Voss said the ad could indicate that Democrats intend to spend more money in the district as the 2018 campaign heats up.

“At this stage in the game, elections are about what the decision makers are doing and seeing,” he said.

State Sen. Reggie Thomas announces that he'll challenge Rep. Andy Barr for his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018.

A woman becomes vocal with a protester outside U.S. Rep. Andy Barr's town hall meeting at Lafayette High School in Lexington, Ky., Monday, April 24, 2017.

The crowd reacted with boos while waving "disagree" signs as US Rep Andy Barr, R-Lexington, mentioned the American Health Care Act during a town hall meeting at Lafayette High School in Lexington, Ky., Monday, April 24, 2017.

U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Lexington, sparred with some crowd members on the issue of repealing the Affordable Care Act during a "Coffee with your Congressman" event in Mt. Sterling on Feb. 22, 2017.

Jane Eller, 70, protests outside U.S. Rep. Andy Barr's speech to Commerce Lexington in downtown Lexington on Wednesday, April 12, 2017. Members of Indivisible Bluegrass have attended Barr's public appearances in recent weeks, trying to put pressur

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