Yarmuth readies to fend off challenge on his own

06/11/2010 07:20 AM

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth at a 2008 Democratic campaign rally

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, the two-term Democratic congressman from Louisville, didn’t face a tough primary and starts the general election with a half-million-dollar lead in his campaign coffers over Republican challenger Todd Lally.

So Yarmuth said he doesn’t expect to see the national Democratic Party or its off-shoot, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, spend much time or money in Louisville this fall, unlike 2006 when Yarmuth unseated Republican congresswoman Anne Northup.

“Since I’m not on a list of competitive races, the DCCC has decided to spend elsewhere,” Yarmuth told cn|2 Politics. “I think that’s appropriate though. But if the race appears competitive, I’ll get national support.”

Lally, who raised about $100,000 by May and spent most of it in the GOP primary, has said he’s hoping for help from the national Republicans.

Unlike some of Yarmuth’s Democratic colleagues in nearby West Virginia and Pennsylvania, he was spared from a tough primary battle that left incumbents politically battered — or on the sidelines in the case of 14-term U.S. Rep. Alan Mollohan of West Virginia, who lost in his May 11 primary.

Yarmuth said he starts the general election in “the best situation” an incumbent could want thanks to being unopposed on the May 18 Democratic primary ballot.

“You don’t have to spend money, you have party solidarity, it’s a great benefit (not to have a primary),” Yarmuth said. “A primary can be good for an unknown candidate, but not having one is good for an incumbent.”

Yarmuth was fairly quiet on the fund-raising front over the last six months, allowing most of the money and attention to go to races with primary battles.

“We’ve tried to stay out of the way of the other candidates,” Yarmuth said.

In addition to Lally, Yarmuth faces at least one other challenger in the November election, independent Michael D. Hansen. Libertarian Party candidate Ed Martin also is seeking the necessary 400 signatures to get on the ballot.

—Kenny Colston


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