Barr says having Obama on 2012 ballot will help his second attempt to unseat Chandler

07/07/2011 11:38 AM

Having President Barack Obama on the ballot next year will only help his chances to unseat U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, Republican challenger Andy Barr said.

“I think it’ll help, I’ll tell you why I think it helps,” Barr told Pure Politics. “If you look at what happened in 2008 in the Sixth Congressional District, obviously this congressional district voted for John McCain … so the district in a presidential year is composed of an electorate that already rejected the candidacy of the president.”

Barr is challenging Chandler for the second time in as many chances, having lost by 648 votes in 2010. That election was considered a strong turnout year for Republicans, while the 2012 presidential election is expected to energize more Democrats and, possibility more Republicans, to re-elect or defeat President Barack Obama.

During his challenge last year, Barr frequently tried to tie Chandler to his fellow Democrats, Obama and then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. In response, Chandler distanced himself from his party, even running ads that never mentioned he was a Democrat.

Chandler has already been a target of the National Republican Congressional Committee. It’s running ads that use video clips of Chandler’s endorsement of Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary against the congressman.

“I think it’s an indication they recognize the strength of our candidacy and that Congressman Chandler’s record is out of step,” with his district, Barr said.

As far as fund-raising, Barr said he doesn’t know “the magic number” he’ll need to run enough advertising to unseat Chandler. In 2010, Barr was outspent by Chandler by $1.6 million.

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