US House Races/Kentucky

Report by Bruce Driver from Indivisible North Boulder

Kentucky District 06:

Candidates are Andy Barr (Incumbent R) and Amy McGrath (D)

Barr, a lawyer, is a three-term incumbent. He has an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and law degree from the University of Kentucky. He has voted with Trump 96% of the time. He believes that all abortions should be unlawful, including in cases of rape and incest, except when the life of the mother is at stake. He voted for the Omnibus spending and tax bills, even while he favors a balanced federal budget. He opposes sanctuary states and cities, voted for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and for repeal/replacement of Obamacare and against disaster relief for P.R. and Houston. He is said to be the “darling” of the banking industry. In other words, another foot soldier in the Trump Army. He beat the Democrat by 22% in 2016. He has $1,300,000 cash on hand.

McGrath is a 20-year former Marine Lt. Colonel pilot with 89 combat missions in the Middle East. She is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and the Johns Hopkins School of International Affairs and was the liaison of the Marine Corps to the State Dept. She has authored a lengthy plan to move the central Kentucky economy forward as well as detailed briefs on the major issues. Among her positions: (1) she favors an all-of-the-above energy strategy and wants to support communities that have been dependent on coal, if not coal itself; (2) she is bullish on solar; (3) she sees tobacco as a bio-fuel for electricity generation; (4) she believes climate change is a real risk; (5) she wants to fix Obamacare, not repeal it; (6) she says that we need immigrants to grow the economy; (7) she ultimately wants a $15/hr. minimum wage; (8) was an NRA member but now would never accept its endorsement or money from them; and (9) she supports the Iran nuke deal. She beat a DCCC candidate (Mayor of Lexington) by 8% in the primary. She has about $656,000 cash on hand.

Description of district: The district is in NE Central Kentucky. It includes Lexington (home of the Univ. of Ky. and Frankfort, state capitol). It is 73% urban and 27% rural, 85% white, 9% black and 5% Hispanic. It is not wealthy. Interestingly, 58% of registered voters were Ds in 2016 and 34% R. A D represented it in the House from 2005-2013. Trump carried it by 15% in 2016. Cook says it is 9% more R than the average district nationally and rates this race as “lean R.”

Summary: McGrath looks like a terrific candidate, is a good speaker, careful progressive and has a great resume. She has an uphill fight. She is promoting a “new economy” vision for the district, whereas her opponent is part of McConnell’s “look backwards” army: Traditional forces will pour money into the race against her. She can win as long as the blue wave materializes and we support her.