Kentucky's 6th District a winnable 'mirage'? 5 Democrats face off to unseat GOP Rep. Barr

Alex Acquisto, Lexington Herald-Leader on

Published in Political News

Though the slate of prospective Democratic rivals has grown two years after Republican U. S. Rep. Andy Barr handily won reelection in Kentucky, political strategists are doubtful there’s enough candidate heft — or fundraising — to unseat the incumbent.

Five Democrats, including a social worker, an IT manager and a nurseryman, are running in the primary for Kentucky’s U.S. 6th Congressional District against Barr, who took office in 2013 and is seeking his seventh term.

The candidate pool ahead of the May 21 primary is more diverse this year than in 2022, when the litigious perennial candidate Geoff Young, who won the bid but never the party’s official support, lost to Barr, capturing only 35% of the vote. Young also lost to Barr in the 2020 GOP primary. He is not running in this election.

But each campaign is grassroots, and fundraising has been lukewarm. Of the three candidates who’ve filed campaign finance reports, they’ve collectively raised just over $101,000, according to the Federal Election Commission filing period that ended May 1.

Shauna Rudd, a social worker from Breathitt County who now lives in Lexington, has raised the most, at roughly $54,000, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

Todd Kelly, a local business owner who opened Kelly Nursery off Leestown Road in 1998, has raised just over $45,000.


And Randy Cravens, an IT manager who won the endorsement of his party as write-in candidate against Barr in 2022 — he earned nearly 9,000 votes — has raised just over $2,500.

Don Pratt, a longtime Lexington social and political activist, and Jonathan Richardson, a social justice advocate, have not filed FEC reports.

“You’ve got to have resources in this day and age in politics,” said political strategist Jared Smith. “I’m talking tens of thousands of dollars, being on TV, having paid canvassers. You have to run ads. You have to run a professional campaign.”

Smith said he doesn’t see Barr as particularly vulnerable this campaign cycle.


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