On the Campaign Trail in Kentucky’s Sixth Congressional District

10/12/2018 07:27 PM

It’s a Tuesday night in Richmond, Kentucky.

And Amy McGrath is on tour.

Since her campaign ad went viral last year, the candidate for Congress in Kentucky’s sixth congressional district has become a bit of a celebrity in the Bluegrass state and especially popular among veterans.

“I know her core values. I know she’s honest. I know she’s committed and I know she has courage,” said Kenneth Morris, a veteran.

The former marine fighter pilot who flew 89 combat missions has positioned herself as someone who can appeal to both Democrats and Republicans.

“We have too many people in Washington who put their political party above their country and above their communities and their people,” said McGrath.

On this mission, she’s determined to oust incumbent three-term Republican Andy Barr.

“I would rather see our elected leaders work together across the aisle to support America instead of their party agendas,” said Morris.

“I like that her husband is Republican and she’s a Democrat and they still seem to get along,” said Carol Myers, a retired engineer in Lexington.

“I feel like she’s a Kentuckian first and a Democrat second,” said Julie Wrinn, an administrator at the University of Kentucky.
But visit a place like Red State BBQ on the outskirts of downtown Lexington and it’s a different story.

“Strong border security, the tax cuts. He’s done a great job with the tax cuts. He helped our great nephew. I’m not going into the details. We asked for his help and he helped us with things that he was struggling with,” said Jim Everly, a truck driver and resident of Georgetown of Congressman Barr.

“Well I don’t know if I can say this, everybody considers me Republican but I have switched. I have voted for the other side from time to time. I just find him [Barr] on the federal level, whether it’s dealing with veterans issues, social security benefits, whatever, it seems like his office is there to help,” said David Rhodes, Vice President of the Walker Company, a construction group based in Mount Sterling.

“This is about unleashing an enormous amount of energy here in rural Kentucky of people who really believe our leadership is off track,” said McGrath.

“In the past I have voted for Republican tickets, but it’s almost gotten to the point where the Republicans have gone strictly towards corporate America. People that live and work in the small areas, we have about a $25,000 average family income here. I don’t disagree with everything about Congressman Barr. He seems to be a nice man, a family man. The horse farm industry and the whiskey business in Kentucky, the distilleries, they deserve their representation but that’s not the only people that live here but they are the people that have a lot of money,” said Tom Hogge, a farmer in Owingsville.

Eva McKend, Spectrum News: What would be the first bill you would introduce in Washington if elected?

McGrath: I think the first bill I would like to do is to fix the teacher, we have a real problem with teachers here in this state. They have a lot of issues when it comes to Social Security and being an unfair system right now. I think it’s a minor fix. It’s the death benefits when they are married to somebody, paid into it. I’d like to be able to fix that. I think that’s an easy fix. Medicare buy in plan for those who are 55 and older. Sure up the Affordable Care Act and a public option for people and that’s simply if you got the Affordable Care Act exchanges, you have private insurers, I think you are have a public option. People can choose if they want.

Eva McKend, Spectrum News: Why does Congressman Barr deserve another term in Congress?

“I think Congressman Barr, you are going to have Democrats, who might say I don’t particularly care for his politics but when I had problems with my Social Security or my mother was having problems with her Medicaid, he really came through and helped us,” said Tres Watson, spokesperson for the Kentucky Republican Party.

Barr’s constituent services seem to be rock solid. Many pollsters think the race is a tossup. Polling in the state is known for favoring Democrats and historically being inaccurate.

“There are reasons to think Republican voters are being under polled especially post Trump because they tend to have more suspicion of these institutions,” said Stephen Voss, a political science professor at the University of Kentucky.

“If we’ve learned anything over the years especially here in Kentucky, don’t trust the polls,” said Watson.

Voss says McGrath is a significant threat to Barr because she’s running a unique campaign.

“Some people think that the reason why these red state areas won’t vote for Democrats is because they feel insulted. They feel like their way of life is not respected. She’s taking a message to them in a way that is respected and through a language that they are comfortable with,” said Voss.

“The Democrats have a big enthusiasm advantage. Getting their base to turn out, getting even people on the periphery of their base to turn out is going to be easy for them. Andy Barr is going to have a harder time getting people to the polls and the numbers he’ll need to put him over the top,” he added.

Voss is not ready to make any predictions.

Kentucky Democrats are confident.

“I think when Amy pulls out her win early in the night, it’s going to be a real indication Democrats are on the verge of a huge wave nationwide,” said Ben Self, Kentucky Democratic Party.

But Voss says a sitting member of Congress brings experience and seniority. Voters don’t casually shrug that off for a newcomer. McGrath will have to overcome a litany of negative ads that portray her as too liberal for the state especially when it comes to contentious social issues like abortion.

Barr’s campaign argues McGrath supports abortion into the ninth month of pregnancy even though Kentucky bans abortion after 20 weeks

“It is an absolutely ridiculous scenario. It is absolutely offensive. I hope you get that on tape, that my opponent would lie about me. I’m pro-choice. I believe that this is a decision that should not be made by government but by individuals. Whether you agree with the humanity of it or not, it is a personal liberty issue,” said McGrath.

McGrath sees reshaping the “too liberal” narrative as part of what she needs to do to win in November.

Eva McKend, Spectrum News How do you not let the media attention go to your head? You are known all over the country at this point.

AM “I got three kids over there. They are 6, 4 and 2 and they keep me grounded. I’m changing diapers. I’m dealing with kid meltdowns. I’m packing lunches. That’s who I am and that’s the kind of person I want to remain,”

Congressman Barr declined to speak with Spectrum News for this report.

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8 Comments

Comments

  • Dee W. wrote on October 13, 2018 01:22 AM :

    “I know her core values. I know she’s honest. I know she’s committed and I know she has courage,” said Kenneth Morris, a veteran.
    ————————————————————————————-

    She’s an admitted left-wing extremist out of sync with Kentucky’s core values – but she only admitted this in a fundraiser in Massachusetts and was caught on tape doing it – “I’m further to the left than anyone else in Kentucky.” She is so extreme on abortion she supports aborting babies even up to the point of birth – are those those the “core values” you are looking for, Mr. Morris?

  • Chuck Thornton wrote on October 13, 2018 01:40 PM :

    The Republican Party is scared of the voters in this election — Barr and his swamp friends have nothing to show for two years of inaction, except a bunch of special interest cash to fund their fear-mongering campaigns.

    The GOP’s Tea Party base expected them to cut off access to health care from millions — Barr & Paulie (No-guts) Ryan couldn’t put the votes together to get ‘er done.

    The GOP’s alt-right base expected a border wall — Barr & Kevin (Lobbyist Tool) McCarthy wouldn’t do it.

    All the DC Republicans can do is trash veterans who’ve proven themselves through years of real service to the nation, while Garland “Andy” Barr IV was golfing at Idle Hour Country Club with Thruston Howell III.

  • Cat Balz wrote on October 13, 2018 04:15 PM :

    Any shot down her own plane supporting a ninth month abortion. That’s not an abortion, that’s infanticide.

  • Chuck Thornton wrote on October 13, 2018 04:43 PM :

    Republicans have been fooling the rubes with “abortion on demand” for 40 years. If they really wanted it to be illegal, they could’ve done that a couple of decades ago.

    GOP hucksters like to trot it out in every election, and tell the Tea Partiers how much they hate gubmint overreach, except when it comes to telling people what drugs they can take and when they have to give birth. Then, a little bit of government authority is a good thing . . . right?

    Infanticide is illegal, Einstein. People should decide for themselves when they want to give birth — 99.9 percent of them will decide well before they spend eight months pregnant.

  • Chuck Thornton wrote on October 13, 2018 04:44 PM :

    Republicans have been fooling the rubes with “abortion on demand” for 40 years. If they really wanted it to be illegal, they could’ve done that a couple of decades ago.

    GOP hucksters like to trot it out in every election, and tell the Tea Partiers how much they hate gubmint overreach, except when it comes to telling people what drugs they can take and when they have to give birth. Then, a little bit of government authority is a good thing . . . right?

    Infanticide is illegal, Einstein. People should decide for themselves when they want to give birth — 99.9 percent of them will decide well before they spend eight months pregnant.

  • Heza Putz wrote on October 13, 2018 11:36 PM :

    I guarandamntee ya Mark Nickolas slapped his own head and fell out of his chair when McGrath gave that answer, Thornton.

  • Kathy Mc wrote on October 16, 2018 09:09 AM :

    Typical Republican political claptrap and misdirection — they’re afraid to talk about how they’ve blown up the deficit and want to destroy health care and Social Security, so they beat their old dead horse of late term abortions — something that women only do if they’re in severe medical distress.

    You seriously think a woman is going to be pregnant for 8 1/2 months, then decide “Oh, I think I’ll get an abortion — I should’ve remembered to do that before, but I was too busy.”

    I swear, Republican voters are clueless and their politicians are liars.

  • Heza Putz wrote on October 16, 2018 11:44 AM :

    McGrath says the first thing she wants to do when she gets to Washington is to “fix the teacher”. Civics is dead. Everybody should know that spaying and neutering teachers is a state and local issue, not one for Congress.

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