Is Andy Barr Running for Senate?

Two new website domains popped up in recent weeks that fuel speculation about Republican Congressman Andy Barr’s electoral future. 

The domains, andybarrforsenate.com and barrforsenate.com, were both registered in late April. The websites are both being held by GoDaddy, and both registrants are protected – a common security feature on website domains.  

Alex Bellizzi, Spokesman, Andy Barr for Congress, said Barr is focused on his job in the House of Representatives but did not rule out a Senate run.

“Congressman Barr is focused on the job at hand. He is pushing back on a radical tax and spend agenda that is undermining our economic recovery, and combatting threats abroad from China and Iran.” Bellizzi said in a statement. “Should the opportunity arise to further serve his community, state and country, he stands ready to do so. Congressman Barr is a proven leader who gets results, and is a battle tested winner who would be formidable in any statewide race.” 

Al Cross, the Director of the Institute of Rural Journalism, recently told Kentucky Fried Politics that speculation indicates Barr is seeking to make a change. 

“The rumor on Andy [Barr] is now that he is a single father – it’s really hard on him commuting back and forth to Washington, and running for the Senate – having a six-year term might be an easier proposition for him,” Cross said, adding Barr’s name comes up as well in discussions about gubernatorial considerations.

“It’s an open question,” he continued. 

Barr lost his wife, Carol, unexpectedly in June 2020, due to a heart condition at the age of 39. The Lexington GOP Congressman who has held Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District since 2013, has two young daughters.

There are no current open seats for the United States Senate in Kentucky, but Barr could possibly challenge incumbent U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, come 2022. Paul has said he will seek a third term in the Senate, but some have questioned a perceived lack of enthusiasm from Paul in regards to his re-election bid. 

Cross believes Sen. Paul will seek another term in the U.S. Senate, but that thought comes with a caveat. 

“The only thing that makes me think he might want to hang it up, at least in the Senate, is the health issue caused by the attack from the neighbor [Rene Boucher] and the possibility that it would be easier to run for president in 2024 by not being a Senator,” Cross said. 

Paul has been actively touring the state in recent weeks and looking more like he is in a contest. His approach to campaigning varies greatly from that of Kentucky’s senior Senator Mitch McConnell, who widely broadcasts his re-election and marshals his election forces early – announcing political hires to the state. 

If Paul opts not to run for the United States Senate in Kentucky the line to vie for the seat would be a long one. The last time a seat was open was in 2010 when Jim Bunning retired and Paul won the seat. With Kentucky now a solidly Republican state, especially at the federal level, one would expect the GOP primary to bring out numerous high-profile politicians for the contest, including many from the rumored gubernatorial field. 

Charles Booker, a Democrat from Louisville, has formed an exploratory committee looking to run for the U.S. Senate in 2022. 

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