Ben Chandler says Rand Paul will be 'ripe for the picking' in 2016

02/14/2011 09:17 PM

(WITH VIDEO) LEXINGTON — Freshman U.S. Sen. Rand Paul will be “ripe for the picking” when he comes up for re-election because Kentucky voters will sour on his approach to cutting key programs, Democratic Congressman Ben Chandler said.

Chandler, who has represented the 6th congressional district in Central Kentucky since 2004, made the comments Saturday at the Fayette County Democratic Party Gala to more than 150 officials and activists.

Despite being a freshman senator, Paul has made headlines in recent weeks for his aggressive proposal to cut $500 billion in discretionary domestic spending. His plan includes eliminating the U.S. Department of Agriculture and federal education spending except for Pell grants for needy college students.

Chandler said voters will become frustrated with Republicans who want to “cut and cut and cut and cut” even if it costs job and key programs such as education.

“What’s unbelievable is that we in Kentucky sent one of the lead dogs up there in Rand Paul,” Chandler said. “Of course we’re going to have to do something about that next time around. But I think he’ll be nice and ripe for the picking because I think people are finally going to understand what they did.”

But he didn’t indicate any interest in running against Paul in 2016 during his remarks.

Chandler, who has had to adjust to being back in the minority party, also criticized the House Republican leadership for doing “essentially nothing … other than to bloviate.”

As Chandler made those remarks, Paul took the stage an hour west of Lexington in Louisville at a GOP event. Paul joked to the crowd of more than 300 Republicans that even though he he had been making an unusual amount of noise for a freshman senator, he hadn’t been disciplined by any of the senior senators. “Ok, well maybe once,” Paul added.

- Ryan Alessi


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