Barr fundraising outpaces Chandler's since July 1

ROGER ALFORD, Associated Press

DANVILLE, Ky. -- In a race that has taken a decidedly nasty turn, Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler appeared Thursday to be losing momentum on fundraising, banking some $300,000 less than his Republican challenger since July 1 in Kentucky's 6th District.

Chandler's third-quarter campaign finance report filed Thursday afternoon with the Federal Election Commission shows he raised $500,000 for the quarter. Andy Barr's campaign said its next fundraising report, which hasn't yet been filed, will show $800,000 raised for the same period.

"It shows Andy's message is resonating throughout the district," said Barr campaign manager Pat Melton.

Chandler has banked $2 million overall and still has more than $830,000 on hand heading into the Nov. 6 election. Melton said Barr has nearly $790,000 on hand, and has raised some $1.8 million overall.

Chandler and Barr, a Lexington attorney, are in a heated rematch. Barr lost by less than 700 votes in their first race two years ago.

In the latest dust-up, Chandler and the Democratic National Congressional Committee have been airing TV spots in recent days accusing Barr of trying to hide his "criminal record." Barr was charged by police with possession of a fake driver's license nearly 20 years ago when he was a 19-year-old college student.

The Barr campaign charged that Democrats have engaged in "reprehensible tactics" in airing what he called a "desperate and false personal attack." It also forced Barr to go on the defensive, explaining in a TV ad that he had made the mistake as a college student of trying to use a fake ID. He pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor and was ordered to do community service.

Chandler and Barr are engaged in Kentucky's most competitive general election congressional race. The two have clashed over Medicare, Social Security and the economy.

Barr has focused his campaign on job losses in the coalfields, where some 2,000 have been laid off over the past year. Part of Barr's strategy has been to link Chandler with President Barack Obama, an unpopular figure in Kentucky because of environmental policies that many believe have been detrimental to the state's mining industry.

Chandler, however, has gotten the endorsement of the United Mine Workers of America.

Lexington, the largest city in the district, is home to several coal companies and has a large population of former miners who left the coalfields in search of work.