Barr's triumph: hard worker aided by outside funds

Andy Barr
Andy Barr

After two years of energetic legwork and propelled by a flood of money from outside groups, Republican Andy Barr pulled off an epic upset.

In the end, Democratic Rep. Ben Chandler's support for President Barack Obama mattered more to voters than his Kentucky political pedigree or experience.

Barr unseated Chandler by carrying the Democratic counties that were added during redistricting and were supposed to tighten Chandler's grip on the congressional seat.

Barr also succeeded in making coal the central issue in a district that has no coal mines.

It's a heady time for Barr, who lost his hometown of Lexington, but did well in rural areas, especially the eastern counties on the edge of coal country that are new to the district.

As he joins the House, Barr will be expected to march in tight formation with the Republican majority.

He can distinguish himself by remembering the Kentuckians who put him in Congress and serving them. Barr successfully tapped into their anxieties about the future. Now he should speak up for their interests.

In the final days of the race, Chandler tried to change the tone of what had been a nasty campaign with an ad featuring his late grandfather Gov. Happy Chandler singing "My Old Kentucky Home."

Barr kept hammering Chandler, criticizing his Obama connection and portraying him as an enemy of coal miners, even though he had the miners union's endorsement.

It wasn't an inspiring campaign, but Barr is smart and worked hard for this victory. We congratulate him and wish him well.