A Democrat says the quiet part out loud

Former Representative Ben Chandler admitted that he tried to confuse voters about his own positions.

Albert Benjamin Chandler III, a Democrat, and the grandson of former Governor, Senator and Commissioner of Baseball A B “Happy” Chandler, won a special election in 2004 for the Sixth District congressional seat, and was re-elected in 2006, 2008 and 2010. In 2012, he was defeated by Republican Andy Barr, who continues to hold the seat today.

An article on the Lexington Herald-Leader’s website references Mr Chandler and his electoral history.

‘All politics is national’: How Kentucky’s congressional districts have slid off the map

by David Catanese | Thursday, March 31, 2022 | 10:27 AM EDT

WASHINGTON Four years ago, Andy Barr had a real race on his hands.

An outside Republican group poured more than $3.5 million into Lexington’s 6th Congressional District to counter the nationally recruited Amy McGrath’s $8 million warchest.

Barr survived the rough and expensive environment, but only by 3 percentage points.

Now his former battleground seat in the heart of Kentucky’s commonwealth looks downright hospitable, if not sleepy.

The article continues to tell readers that every congressional district in Kentucky has a party favorability rating in double digits, five for Republicans, and one, in Louisville, for Democrats. Mr Barr’s district actually has the smallest partisan advantage, at 13%.

The Bluegrass State was the friendliest in the South for Democrats, with Democrats winning most gubernatorial races, and controlling the state House of Representatives up until the 2016 elections. But it was tough going for Mr Chandler in the Sixth District, and he told the reporter how he held on for as long as he did:

Lexington’s 6th Congressional District used to fall in the competitive category when Chandler held the seat for four terms. But Chandler, now the CEO of The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, says he had to practice the “politics of confusion” in order to survive in a place where most identified as conservative.

“I had to confuse my constituents so they couldn’t tell whether I was a liberal or a conservative or a moderate,” he said, noting that endeavor became more difficult as data showed him that an increasing amount of his constituents were primarily depending on conservative media outlets like Fox News, which blared narratives that tarred his entire party with the same broad brush. “When that’s the case and you’re a Democrat, you clearly are looking at a hell of an uphill battle.”

Translation: Mr Chandler had to lie to the voters to win the races he did.

Mr Chandler lost to Mr Barr in the 2012 elections, but Democrats in the Bluegrass State held on to a majority in the state House of Representatives until the 2016 contests. The Sixth District, which includes more liberal Lexington, is Kentucky’s second most Democratic district, and, as the cited article pointed out, Amy McGrath Henderson, who wasn’t an incumbent, ran a competitive race against Mr Barr in 2018. Is it possible, just possible, that Mr Chandler lost in 2012 at least in part because the voters in the district were not as confused about him as he thought he could make them? Given that Democrats controlled the state House of Representatives following both the 2000 and 2010 elections, it wasn’t as though Republicans could gerrymander the district against them.

Mrs Henderson tried to confuse the voters as well, spending a clear pile of money — $8,274,396 to Mr Barr’s $5,580,477 — on mailings and television ads telling us how moderate and patriotic she was. However, she attended a fund raiser in Massachusetts and said, “I am further left, I am more progressive, than anyone in the state of Kentucky.

There’s a simple truth here: while Mr Chandler and Mrs Henderson both tried to fool the voters of the Sixth District, Mr Barr has not, because the voters in the Sixth more closely match conservative Republican principles.
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2 thoughts on “A Democrat says the quiet part out loud”

  1. Amy, the “I am Woman, Hear Me Roar” candidate? Who got most of her funds outside of Kentucky? Did I get that right?
    I can see how that seat became so sleepy, if I did. The money dried up, after the hero “Moderate” gal flopped like a carp in the bottom of the boat. Even Democrats expect a better return on investment. A three percent loss is the end of a career in politics for that type. Kind of a firecracker that fizzles. Maybe even Beto, in Texas, will be the next.

    • Mr Berwind wrote, “A three percent loss is the end of a career in politics for that type. ”

      LOL! After her 3% loss to Mr Barr in 2018, Mrs Henderson decided to run against Senator Mitch McConnell in 2020. In that race she raised over $80 million, and lost by 19%! 🙂

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