Analysis: Barr romped through eastern 6th Dist. counties as Chandler floundered in Franklin

11/07/2012 11:08 AM

Not only did Republican Andy Barr wallop Ben Chandler in the new counties added to the 6th Congressional District, but Barr out-paced even U.S. Sen. Rand Paul’s 2010 performance in those Democratic majority areas.

On Tuesday, Barr won overwhelming majorities in Wolfe, Menifee, Nicholas and Robertson counties and even cracked 60 percent in the normally reliably Democratic county of Fleming — all counties that were supposed to give the incumbent Chandler some breathing room in this election. Barr also defeated Chandler in Bath County but didn’t crack the 50 percent threshold because of the presence of independent candidate Randolph Vance.

Barr also outperformed the benchmarks laid out by Paul in counties that remained in the 6th District, such as Montgomery, Powell, Madison, Estill and Bourbon counties.

The only places in which Barr underperformed relative to his 2010 results were in the most populous county, Fayette, and Jessamine County, which saw some of its most conservative precincts moved to the 2nd Congressional District during redistricting this year.

Here’s a look at how Barr and Chandler performed in each of the 19 counties compared to 2010, as well as Paul’s 2010 performance.

Meanwhile, Chandler essentially did what he needed to do in Fayette County, where he had said he needed to run up the score.

He beat Barr by six percentage points even with independent candidate Randolph Vance pulling nearly 3 percentage points of Fayette County voters. Chandler’s performance in Fayette was slightly better than the five points Chandler won by two years ago. And Chandler received 8,500 more votes than Barr there — nearly double the margin Chandler had in Fayette two years ago in the lower-turnout election.

But perhaps Chandler’s most surprising regression was in the Democratic stronghold of Franklin County.

Two years ago, in a lower turnout election, Chandler got a nearly 4,600 vote cushion from Franklin County. This time, it dropped to 3,309.

Independent candidate Randolph Vance siphoned 815 votes from Chandler and Barr. But Barr clearly improved his performance in Franklin County. His share of the vote in Tuesday’s race almost matched Rand Paul’s performance in Franklin County in the U.S. Senate race two years ago.

Barr correctly sensed the shift in Franklin County. While campaigning on Saturday, he told Pure Politics he expected to perform well in counties in which he underperformed two years ago and specifically mentioned Franklin. He was right.


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