Voters in central Kentucky’s newly drawn sixth Congressional district now know that they will be deciding a rematch in November. Andy Barr, who lost to incumbent Ben Chandler in 2010, will challenge him again this year after easily winning the Republican nomination Tuesday. Chandler was unopposed in the Democratic primary.
They agree on one thing: “I think the key issue is jobs,” said Barr. "It's about the economy; I don't think there's any question about that,” said Chandler.
How they would tackle the issue is where they differ.
Barr believes less regulation will help lower the debt. “We need to get the American people back to work and that means we've got to get the government out of the way,” said Barr. “The government has been an impediment to job creation so we've got to fix that."
Chandler says the economy is improving, but not as fast as anyone would like. He says don’t forget that the economy tanked at the end of the Bush years as the housing and banking industries collapsed. "Those are private sector industries,” said Chandler. “So that is the root of our problem and what we need to do is we need to stimulate growth somehow."
Chandler believes stimulating the economy by pushing work on the infrastructure has helped. "We need to put people to work, a, and then b we need to reduce the deficit. One will lead to another,” Chandler said.
Barr, who lost by 647 votes two years ago, had raised $612,000 by the end of March, 50 percent more than at that point in his first race. "The key is what is your message and we're going to have the resources we need to communicate our message,” Barr claimed.
Chandler seems unfazed after surviving a barrage of ads in 2010 which were bankrolled by outside money. "They spent millions and millions of dollars trying to beat me last time,” Chandler reflected.
It is also a presidential election year, meaning in an anti-Obama leaning state, that race could help Barr.
"The bottom line is the Obama Chandler strategy of higher government, higher taxes, more government control, more regulation, higher debt loads on the American people,” Barr said. “It's just not working."
“Well that's a nice sound bite and that's easy for him to say but anybody who knows me and has been around me knows I'm independent,” Chandler responded.
Barr has been named a young gun campaign by the National Republican Congressional Committee, but can Barr take down his target in 2012 after coming up just short in 2010? That, the voters will decide.