Kentucky Rep. Ben Chandler, a conservative Blue Dog Democrat, lost tonight to Lexington attorney Andy Barr (R).
With 98.7 percent of precincts reporting, the Associated Press called the race for Barr. He took 50.5 percent to Chandler’s 46.8 percent.
Chandler beat Barr by 647 votes in 2010, the third-closest House race in the nation.
But this cycle Barr had a new playbook. He focused, especially in the waning months, on tying Chandler to President Barack Obama — who is deeply unpopular in Kentucky — and focusing on issues related to coal, which is important to a big swath of the newly configured 6th district.
Chandler, for his part, had a similar strategy to 2010, but he started pushing out ads on coal issues after Barr began advertising on the topic. That’s when internal polls began to show Chandler slipping.
And he never recovered.
Chandler could be the first of many conservative Democrats to be defeated tonight.
Supporters of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney listen Sunday during a rally in Des Moines, Iowa. With two days before Election Day, Romney is campaigning in swing states across the country. (Emmanuel Dunando/AFP/Getty Images)
Heading into the final weekend of barnstorming before Election Day, there was a noticeable shift toward the GOP in many key House races while Democrats seem to be getting more good news than bad about the Senate map.
First, the Senate math:
Yes, it’s quite possible (even likely) that Democrats such as Sens. Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and Bob Casey (Pa.) will have closer margins on Election Day than most expect. But Democrats are likely to hold both seats, and the climb for Republicans to net the four seats they need for an outright majority (if President Barack Obama is re-elected) seems steep heading into election week.
Here’s what we know: Republicans are likely to pick up two Senate seats in Nebraska and North Dakota (although the race there remains close). Those gains are likely to be offset by Democratic pickups in Massachusetts and Maine, where an Independent is poised to win and will likely caucus with Democrats. Assuming Republicans hold their seats in Arizona and Nevada, which seems like a good bet, that’s a zero net gain, leaving the chamber’s makeup at 53 Democrats and 47 Republicans. Full story
This is, perhaps, the best ad of the entire cycle from former state Senate Minority Leader Richard Tisei (R). He is giving Rep. John Tierney (D) a very serious challenge, but we cannot imagine a better way to close out a campaign in the overloaded Boston TV market, even if it is a small cable buy:
Rep. Ben Chandler is getting a helping hand from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Rep. Ben Chandler’s Old Kentucky Home just got some propping up from national Democrats.
The independent expenditure arm of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee bought 2,000 gross rating points — about $200,000 — worth of TV advertisements in the Lexington, Ky., media market from Oct. 6-29 to help the four-term Kentucky lawmaker in his conservative district.
Chandler faces a rematch with Lexington attorney Andy Barr, whom he beat by the slimmest of margins in 2010. Republicans have hammered Chandler with negative ads and now he’s getting some cover from Democratic allies.
Kentucky Republicans remain bearish on Barr’s chances, but national Democrats getting in the race is a sign that the contest has tightened.
The National Republican Congressional Committee and other GOP-aligned outside groups launched a new round of television advertising over the weekend in a bevy of House races.
With seven weeks to go until Election Day, the NRCC on Sunday released 10 new TV ads — six in districts the group is working to hold and four in districts the GOP hopes to pick up. Democrats must score a net gain of 25 seats in November to wrestle back control of the House majority. Full story
Rep. Ben Chandler (D-Ky.), facing a rematch with Lexington Attorney Andy Barr (R), began airing his first ad of the cycle today, emphasizing his fiscal responsibility.
“I’ve always been of the belief if you spend more than you take in, you’re going to go broke,” he says directly to camera in the 30-second spot. “It’s important that we get this debt under control.”
A slow-talking male narrator then begins to speak over B-roll of Chandler campaigning and working. “That’s why Ben Chandler voted for a balanced budget amendment that protects Medicare and Social Security. Voted against every Congressional pay raise,” the narrator says.
“And held down his office spending to return over half a million dollars to taxpayers. Putting Kentucky first,” the narrator concludes.
The ad is backed by a buy of $48,485 — 551 gross rating points — in the district today through Sunday, according to a Chandler spokeswoman.
Lexington attorney Andy Barr (R), facing a tough re-match with four-term Rep. Ben Chandler (D) in the Bluegrass State’s 6th district, today released a smart, soft-spoken ad reintroducing himself to voters.
His wife, Carol Barr, narrates the ad. She begins speaking to camera standing in a kitchen with a mug covered in hearts.
Rep. Ben Chandler (right), seen here in 2008 with then-Sen. Barack Obama, will have to run several points ahead of the president in his rural Kentucky district to get re-elected in November. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call)
Rep. Ben Chandler (D) leads Republican Andy Barr by 5 points in Kentucky’s 6th Congressional district, according a newly released Republican poll.
Among likely voters surveyed in late June, Chandler got 47 percent to Barr’s 42 percent. The poll, conducted by well-respected GOP firm Public Opinion Strategies for the Barr campaign and the National Republican Congressional Committee, found Barr’s support remains unchanged since a February poll. Chandler’s support ticked down 2 points over the five months, a shift well within the margin of error. Full story
In a stinging rebuke of the Kentucky Republican establishment, tea-party-affiliated Lewis County Judge-Executive Thomas Massie won tonight’s GOP primary to replace retiring Rep. Geoff Davis (R) in the 4th district.
With 72 percent of precincts reporting, the Associated Press called the race for Massie. He had 44.9 percent of vote, state Rep. Alecia Webb-Edgington had 29 percent and Boone County Judge-Executive Gary Moore had 17.4 percent.
Davis, along with former Kentucky Sen. Jim Bunning (R), backed Webb-Edgington, who had broad establishment support. Conservative Republican Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.) and Mike Lee (Utah) backed Massie. Full story
Utah Congressional candidate Mia Love, who is in Washington, D.C., this week for meetings, was one of the candidates promoted to "Young Guns" status. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)
The National Republican Congressional Committee today announced its first round of Young Guns — candidates who have reached the highest tier of the committee’s recruitment and candidate support program.
The candidates are a diverse group that includes two woman, one of whom is African-American; a man of Portuguese descent; an openly gay man and a Jewish man.
“These candidates have met a series of rigorous goals that will put them in position to win on Election Day,” NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions (Texas) said in a statement. Full story
Two polls give Rep. Ben Chandler (right) the lead in Kentucky's 6th district race, but one shows Chandler in a better position than the other does. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Updated 4:00 p.m. | Just how competitive is the race in Kentucky’s 6th district, where four-term Rep. Ben Chandler (D) faces a rematch with attorney Andy Barr (R)? That depends on which poll you believe.
Chandler’s campaign released a poll Monday showing him with a 24-point lead in a head-to-head matchup with Chandler, 54 percent to 30 percent.
But a poll from Barr’s pollsters had the Republican trailing Chandler by only 7 points, 49 percent to 42 percent.
What might account for the difference? Chandler’s pollsters, Mark Mellman’s the Mellman Group, surveyed 400 voters representing the “likely 2012 electorate” in late March, while Public Opinion Strategies, Barr’s pollsters, surveyed 400 “likely 2012 voters” in late February.
Conservative organization FreedomWorks PAC today released its “first slate” of House endorsements.
“Through extensive personal interviews, detailed research of their records, and feedback from activists in their districts, we are confident these candidates will expand the freedom caucus in the House and lead the fight for economic freedom and constitutionally limited government,” FreedomWorks PAC Executive Director Max Pappas said in a statement.
Jackie Walorski, running for an open seat in Indiana, was among the GOP candidates elevated by the National Republican Congressional Committee today. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
The National Republican Congressional Committee today announced the first round of candidates to make it to the third step in its Young Guns candidate program.
Eleven Republicans running in open seats or against Democratic incumbents were named “Contender” candidates, elevating them from the initial enrollment and “On the Radar” steps. The candidates must meet district-specific benchmarks to move through the program. Full story
The Kentucky Legislature, deadlocked for weeks over a Congressional redistricting map, took a huge step toward the passage of final lines today.
The Democratic-controlled state House and the Republican-held state Senate have reached a tentative agreement, a spokesman for the Speaker confirmed. Draft maps are expected to be released as early as tonight.
Sources told Roll Call that the map will protect incumbents and likely keep the 6th district’s political bent the same, giving a leg up to Rep. Ben Chandler (D) in his rematch with Lexington attorney Andy Barr.