National Democrats now investing in 6th Dist. to attack Barr on "criminal record"

10/09/2012 10:52 AM

In the age of super PACs and corporate money in politics, the 6th District Congressional race between U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Versailles, and Republican Andy Barr has so far been an old school campaign.

At least at the moment, the ads in the central Kentucky district right now are being run by the candidates’ campaigns and the national party groups — the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. It’s pretty much the same way campaigns were run four years ago before the age of Citizens United and subsequent court rulings.

The DCCC entered the 6th District ad fray on behalf of Chandler over the weekend with an ad targeting Barr, the Lexington lawyer who narrowly lost to Chandler in 2010.

The ad echoed one of the lines of attack against Barr from 2010 — referring to Barr’s “criminal record.”

The ad refers to a 1993 arrest for a fake drivers license in Florida, which was first reported in a 2010 Herald-Leader profile on Barr. Barr had pleaded guilty and was ordered to provide eight hours of community service, according to court records that the Herald-Leader’s John Cheves cited.

When Barr applied for state government jobs under Gov. Ernie Fletcher, he checked ‘No’ on the sections asking if he had ‘ever been convicted of violating any law other than ‘minor traffic violations.’ Barr, at the time, said he believed his Florida conviction was “minor” and did not merit disclosure.

In 1999 Barr was charged with Public Drinking in Lexington, the charge was dismissed several months later, but in the article it said Barr declined to explain the circumstances behind those charges.

Barr’s Campaign Manager responded saying the ad was resorting to “character assassination.”

“In a repeat of the same reprehensible tactics he used in 2010, Ben Chandler has resorted to name calling and character assassination,” Barr campaign manager Pat Melton said in a press release. “Chandler’s desperate and false personal attack is precisely why the American people are so disillusioned with politics and career politicians.”

According to Roll Call, the DCCC bought $200,000 worth of advertising in support of Chandler from Oct 6-29.

The ad buy marks the first time in this campaign the DCCC has become involved — and the latest signal that Democrats are concerned about defending the seat.

Last week, the Rothenberg Report moved the needle a tick in Barr’s direction and is now calling the race “lean Democratic.”

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics, the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like the connection between the high profile Steubenville, Ohio rape and a Kentucky hacker whose push for further investigation could put him in federal prison. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.

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