The Chatter: Fighter pilot mulling bid for 6th Congressional District

04/29/2017 01:35 PM

A soon-to-be-retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Marines may challenge Congressman Andy Barr in next year’s midterm elections, CNHI News reported Thursday.

Lt. Col. Amy McGrath, a fighter pilot on 85 combat missions in Afghanistan and Irag and former congressional aide who now teaches political science at the U.S. Naval Academy, is among possible contenders for the 6th Congressional District seat in 2018, according to Kentucky Democratic Party Chairwoman Sannie Overly, who declined to name other potential entrants in next year’s race to CNHI.

McGrath declined to comment when asked about her interest in the seat.

“I’m currently an active duty officer in the U.S. Marines,” McGrath said in an email to CNHI. “I cannot comment on any future plans until after my retirement on 1 June, 2017.”

Barr, who won a third term after besting minister Nancy Jo Kemper by more than 22 points last year, seemed to shrug off possible Democratic contenders for his seat after a town hall in Lexington on Monday.

“I’m not worried about politics,” he said, according to a report by the Lexington Herald-Leader. “I’m worried about doing the job I was elected to do. If I do the job I was elected to do, then the politics will take care of itself.”

The newspaper reported Thursday that a pair of high-profile Democrats – Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes and former state Auditor Adam Edelen — have already ruled out running for the 6th Congressional District. Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, who carried the district in his race against U.S. Sen. Rand Paul last year, did not comment on his plans for 2018, and state Rep. James Kay, D-Versailles, left the door open for a possible run, but he said his focus is on his family and serving his House district, according to the report.

Former Congressman Ben Chandler, whom Barr beat in 2010, said he has talked with McGrath, of Covington, about the race.

“She called me and said she was thinking about moving home and might be interested in getting involved in politics,” Chandler said in the CNHI News report. “I told her we always need good, qualified people to run for public office. And she has quite an unbelievable personal story.”

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