Barr for 6th District

Andy Barr
is seeking his second term in the 6th Congressional District.
Andy Barr is seeking his second term in the 6th Congressional District.

Republican Andy Barr came so close to unseating Democrat Ben Chandler from Congress two years ago, he's earned another shot at the 6th District seat.

Barr has two Republican opponents in the May 22 primary, Patrick Kelly II, a Lexington software engineer and entrepreneur, and Curtis Kenimer, a horseman from Paris.

Barr is the only one of the three whose campaign has reported raising any money. Defeating a four-term congressman who has won three statewide elections and has a famous Kentucky name takes money, as much as we might wish that candidates' messages could broadcast themselves.

Barr, whose campaign had reported raising $615,000 as of March 31, is far and away the most prepared to compete with Chandler in the fall.

The National Republican Congressional Committee thinks so, too. It has chosen Barr as one of its "Young Guns," meaning he has been judged to have a good chance of taking out an incumbent and will receive extra campaign and fund-raising support.

A Lexington lawyer and part-time teacher at Morehead State University, Barr has become a better speaker and more compelling spokesman for Republican views than he was when he came within 648 votes of Chandler two years ago.

The other two candidates might appeal to Republicans who are more interested in moving their party to the right than in defeating Chandler.

Of the two, Kelly is the more impressive. One of the many youthful acolytes of Rep. Ron Paul, he devoted hundreds of hours to campaigning for the younger Sen. Rand Paul in Kentucky.

Kelly knowledgeably articulates a libertarian/Tea Party philosophy and contends that Barr is not conservative enough and cannot beat Chandler.

Kelly should keep seasoning himself and his politics by seeking public service opportunities. He already volunteers helping University of Kentucky students incubate tech companies and has the potential to be the kind of smart, public-minded young person Kentucky needs.

Kenimer, who owns Marsetta Farm in Bourbon County, advocates eliminating the federal income tax and replacing it with a national sales tax, capping the debt ceiling and drastically downsizing the federal government.

Of the three, Barr would be most appealing to Democrats and swing voters in an electorate that this year's redistricting has made more Democratic.

Republicans should nominate Andy Barr.

The unendorsed candidate who met with the editorial board may submit a 250-word response by noon Monday.