Chandler declares victory, Barr objects



By Nicole Schladt and Brian Hancock

In what was perhaps Kentucky’s most tightly-contested election of the evening, Republican Andy Barr lost Tuesday night to Democratic incumbent Ben Chandler in the state’s Sixth Congressional District race.

“According to the Secretary of State’s website, we have won this election,” Chandler said to a crowded room at the Barrel House in Lexington Tuesday evening.

The announcement prompted high fives and handshakes from his supporters, who watched the margin of votes between Chandler and Barr decrease over the course of the evening. In the end, Chandler narrowly held the lead with a margin of about 600 votes over Barr, according to the Associated Press.

While the race remained close throughout most of the evening, Chandler’s support base maintained its optimism.

“I believe Chandler will prevail,” said Kentucky State Senator Kathy W. Stein (D). “My hope now is that (Chandler) will speak out forcefully as a Democrat in the House.”

Many other people gathered at the Barrel House held high hopes for the future of Kentucky with Chandler in the House.

“(Chandler) is good about helping out Kentucky families,” said UK senior Hunter Kendrick, technical coordinator for the Fayette County Democratic Party. “Keeping (Chandler) in his seat will do a lot to help the national Democratic Party.”

Despite the results, Barr did not give a concession speech at Lexington’s Crowne Plaza Resort.

“This race is not over,” he proclaimed at 10:35 pm.  “This race is too close to call.”

Barr thanked his supporters who donated time and money to his campaign.  “I want to thank the tens of thousands of people who have supported our effort to make Washington more accountable,” he said.

Barr’s supporters expressed their regret at the immediate results, but said the close call signaled positive things for both their candidate and the state of Kentucky.

Barr’s UK base showed equal resolve and dedication towards his platform and values.

“I’ve never really seen anyone work as hard as Andy Barr,” said UK College Republican Chairman Brian Rose.  “At the same time, it’s hard to go up against the Democratic incumbent.”

Barr adamantly declared he would keep fighting.

“We look forward to continuing the campaign tomorrow,” he said.