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Kentucky Congressman Ben Chandler is among a dozen Democrats being targeted in a series of radio ads from the conservative-aligned Crossroads GPS organization. The ads criticize the representatives for voting against a Republican-backed bill to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year, largely through major spending cuts. The spots also praise Republicans for supporting the legislation.

The Washington Post has more on what the ads say about the next year for Chandler.

The ads, which provide an early window into both parties’ most vulnerable members heading into 2012, are the second major buy Crossroads has laid down this year.

The early spending suggests that Crossroads GPS and American Crossroads plan on continuing their active presence in House and Senate elections — not to mention the presidential race — in 2012.


To better predict how congress might look after the midterm elections, Politico has broken down close House contests into three categories. Every seat listed is held by a Democrat, and the categories comprise 75 seats Republicans could win.

The first group includes the most imperiled Democratic seats — these are the “must-wins” — without which the GOP has no shot at House control. It’s a roster filled with freshmen who benefited from Barack Obama’s coattails, the most vulnerable veterans and Republican-friendly open seats where the retirement of a Democratic incumbent has created a prime pick-up opportunity. If Republicans can’t win most of these seats, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will take the gavel again for the 112th Congress.

The second group of seats could be labeled the “majority makers”—a class of races that are within GOP reach, but will require defeating well-prepared Democratic incumbents or winning on highly competitive terrain. If the GOP is winning most of these races on election night, a Republican majority will be close at hand. If not, Democrats still have a chance of waking up Nov. 3 with a slim margin in the House.

The third group could be described as the “landslide” class. For the most part, these districts are a tough climb for GOP candidates, either because of the strength of the Democratic incumbent or the partisan tilt of the seat. If the Democrats in this category start to fall on election night, a wave election is unfolding.

Kentucky’s 6th District–represented by Ben Chandler–is in the third group, meaning a Chandler loss could signal a near-collapse for Democrats elsewhere:

Chandler has had no problems holding this Republican-oriented, Lexington-based district but his cap and trade vote is already causing him problems in a coal-producing state.

The commonwealth’s other Democratically-controlled District, the 3rd–represented by John Yarmuth–is among 13 additional races listed as “on the bubble.” A recent Survey USA poll showed Yarmuth in a tighter than expected race against newcomer Todd Lally.

Politico’s new way of organizing races may make sense on the surface, but I suspect Ken Silverstein of Harper’s might take issue with such a broad analysis. In August, he wrote this as pundits tried to make sense of recent primaries, and fit the results into an “anti-insurgent” narrative:

America is a big place. Winning or losing state and local races depends on different issues in different places; there may not be a One-Size-Fits-All explanation for results around the country.

That’s not to say, however, that an electoral sweep–or lack thereof–in November would be a matter of coincidence.

Congressman Ben Chandler (D-6) says Kentucky may soon receive $875,000 to enforce the new Amanda’s Law. The law allows for GPS tracking in certain domestic abuse cases, and the money would be used to purchase those devices. The $875,000 is working its way through the congressional budget process, Chandler says.

From CN2:

The law is named for Amanda Ross, who was murdered nearly a year ago. Her estranged ex-boyfriend, former state Rep. Steve Nunn, has been accused of fatally shooting Ross after she took out a domestic violence order against him. Nunn is awaiting trial in Lexington.

Judges can order the monitoring devices to keep tabs on offenders who are found to have stalked or assaulted a person after a domestic violence order was issued. Some county officials have said they haven’t started a pilot program to test the devices yet because they didn’t allot money in the budget for them. That’s where the federal funds come in.

Chandler said the $875,000 has cleared the appropriations subcommittee on commerce, justice and science. It is awaiting approval by the full house.

Fayette commonwealth attorney Ray Larson, whose office is handling the prosecution in the Nunn case, will be responsible for doling out those funds.

The Herald-Leader recently obtained a letter International Coal Group senior vice president Roger Nicholson sent to his fellow coal company executives. In it, he said:

“With the recent Supreme Court ruling, we are in a position to be able to take corporate positions that were not previously available in allowing our voices to be heard.”

Nicholson is referring to the recent Citizens United decision, which could allow coal companies (and others) to set up 527s which would allow them to spend millions on political advertising, without having to disclose the spending until after the election. Nicholson’s letter named three races of interest where these ads could be used against Democratic candidates:

Conway against Republican Rand Paul for Kentucky’s open Senate seat; Chandler against Republican Garland “Andy” Barr in Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District; and Democratic U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall against Republican Elliott “Spike” Maynard in West Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District.

Democratic Senate candidate Jack Conway has previously stated that one of his criteria for supporting energy legislation is that it does right by Kentucky coal, though he wants coal to burn more cleanly. This has been a sore spot for Conway in the primary and so far in the general election.

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