Kentucky will host two very competitive contests for Congress in 2012, one an open seat being vacated by a Republican, the other a rematch of a very close 2010 race. Although the Democrats easily (56 percent) reelected Gov. Steve Beshear (D) in November 2011, the overall climate in the state appears to favor the GOP, with President Obama, who lost the state by 57 percent to 41 percent in 2008.
In the 4th District (Covington, etc.), four-term US Rep. Geoff Davis (R) is retiring, leaving an open seat in this usually Republican district, which is composed in large part of suburbs of nearby Cincinnati, Ohio. McCain got 60 percent here in 2008; Bush got 63 percent in 2004.
In the 6th District (Lexington, etc.), four-term US Rep. Ben Chandler (D) scraped by in 2010 with 50.1 percent of the vote to challenger Andy Barr’s (R) 49.8 percent, a difference of only 647 votes out of some 239,000 cast. Barr, 37, is an attorney and a part-time constitutional law professor.
The race in Kentucky’s 6th District could determine if Democrats gain the 25 seats needed to reclaim the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.