Stumbo says Chandler got 'stuck' on coal issue; says House needs to come together

11/07/2012 05:26 PM

Coal was “a significant factor” in Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler’s defeat in the 6th Congressional District as Chandler was “stuck” with his 2009 vote on a cap-and-trade bill, said Democratic state House Speaker Greg Stumbo.

Stumbo, who spoke with Pure Politics on Election Night, said he didn’t know that there was much Chandler could have done once Republican Andy Barr hammered on ads on Chandler’s vote and linked him to President Barack Obama, whose administration has drawn the ire of Eastern Kentuckians who blame regulations for slowing the industry.

Chandler tried to defend his vote for cap-and-trade, which would put a ceiling on carbon emissions from power plants and factories and allow those industries to trade pollution credits. He said that system, which initially was pushed by Republicans decades ago, was preferable to aggressive regulations by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

But Stumbo said the perception that Chandler opposed a signature Kentucky issue was too much.

For instance, he said a fellow Floyd County native who now lives in the Central Kentucky district told Stumbo he wouldn’t vote for Chandler because “he’s against coal.”

“These are kids who were raised to support Democratic candidates,” Stumbo said.

Stumbo also discussed the state House races, which left Democrats with a 55-45 majority — a more comfortable margin for Democrats than many Republicans had hoped.

“It’s time to stop the fighting. It’s time to start the fixin’,” Stumbo said. Atop the priority list, he said, are pension reforms and revamping the tax code.

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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