Is Fayette County the Ohio of the 6th Congressional District?

11/06/2012 09:30 AM

Ben Chandler has been clear over the past four days that the key to winning a fifth full term in Congress would be to win solidly in the 6th Congressional District’s most populous county.

If turnout numbers are consistent with the 2008 presidential election, Fayette County voters will make up more than 42 percent of the ballots cast in the race — a larger percentage than two years ago, when the district was configured differently and included more constituents during an “off-year” election.

In 2010, Chandler won Fayette County 52.4 percent to Republican Andy Barr’s 47.25 percent. The 4,385-vote cushion Chandler got in the county helped him eek out a 648-vote win out of the more than 239,000 cast district-wide.

If Chandler prevails this time, it very well could be because he increases his margin in that county.

And the Democratic congressman has made Fayette County his beachhead this year against a Republican wave, and is betting that the increased turnout because of the presidential race would benefit him as more casual Democrats in the Lexington area come out to vote than those who cast ballots two years ago.

Here’s what he said over the weekend:

Barr, however, dismisses the notion that he would have to win or tie in Fayette County in order to unseat Chandler. It’s like the presidential race, where Mitt Romney can lose Ohio but still win the presidency — the path just becomes much, much tougher.

Barr just can’t lose Fayette County by too much. A Pure Politics analysis shows that Barr could narrowly lose Fayette County but still perform well enough in the other counties to win. But it gets tougher for Barr if the spread in Fayette County gets larger than four points.

Here’s what Barr said about his path to victory on Tuesday night:

About Ryan Alessi

Ryan Alessi joined cn|2 in May 2010 as senior managing editor and host of Pure Politics. He is now pursuing an advanced degree in non-fiction writing from Murray State University and is a regular contributor to Pure Politics. Ryan has covered politics for more than 14 years, including seven years as a reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Ryan can be reached at purepolitics@twcable.com or @mycn2 on Twitter.

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