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Kentucky’s 6 congressional incumbents sweep away challengers

November 4, 2020 GMT
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FILE - In this Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, file photo, Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky., speaks to supporters at his victory celebration in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky's 6th District has lived up to its reputation as a political battleground with the current slugfest between Barr and Democratic challenger Josh Hicks.(AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File)
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FILE - In this Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, file photo, Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky., speaks to supporters at his victory celebration in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky's 6th District has lived up to its reputation as a political battleground with the current slugfest between Barr and Democratic challenger Josh Hicks.(AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Incumbents held strong in all six of Kentucky’s congressional races Tuesday as voters returned five Republicans and one Democrat to Washington.

The state is a reliable stronghold for Republicans in federal races, outside of Louisville, which traditionally votes Democrat.

In the state’s most anticipated U.S. House race, Republican Andy Barr defeated Democrat challenger Josh Hicks in Tuesday’s election in the central Kentucky district that includes Lexington, the state’s second-largest city. The district has swung between Republicans and Democrats for decades.

Barr, standing on stage with his two young daughters Tuesday night, paid a tribute to his wife Carol, who died suddenly in June of a heart condition.

He said his wife left behind an “extraordinary legacy of faith, family and motherhood and love of country will continue forever.”

Barr, who has been a target of national Democrats, said he was honored to be returning to Washington for a fifth term after fending off a hard-charging challenger.

“As I have always said, if you do the job you’re elected to do, the politics will take care of itself,” Barr said Tuesday night.

Kerry Kuntz voted for Barr at the Woodford County courthouse on Tuesday. Kuntz, 54, said she voted straight ticket Republican, adding that Barr has “just done a very good job up to this point.”

Barr has been a loyal supporter of President Donald Trump and has compiled a conservative voting record that includes efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act championed by former President Barack Obama.

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Hicks is an attorney who previously served as a Marine and police officer. The former Republican said he switched parties because of GOP policies favoring the wealthy.

Barr defeated Amy McGrath in the 6th District in 2018 in her first political campaign. McGrath lost to Republican Mitch McConnell in this year’s U.S. Senate race.

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Democratic U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth defeated Republican challenger Rhonda Palazzo, winning reelection in the Kentucky congressional district that includes most of the Louisville metropolitan area.

Yarmuth has served the Louisville-area 3rd District since 2007, and is the chairman of the House Budget Committee. Yarmuth has long served as the lone voice of dissent among Kentucky’s GOP-dominated delegation.

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Kentucky Republican Rep. Thomas Massie won reelection to the congressional district seat in the northeast part of the state.

Massie had drawn President Donald Trump’s ire on coronavirus relief.

Massie has a reputation for contrarian stances, voting against bipartisan and conservative bills. When the congressman from Kentucky’s 4th Congressional District held up a vote on a $2 trillion relief package in March, Trump called him “a disaster for America” on Twitter.

The 4th District adjoining the Ohio River includes several Kentucky suburbs of neighboring Cincinnati, Ohio.

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Republican U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie secured another term in a conservative district in west-central Kentucky. The self-described “pro-life, pro-gun, pro-Trump” politician has served in Congress since 2009 from Kentucky’s 2nd district, which also includes Bowling Green.

He defeated Democratic nominee Hank Linderman, musician and recording engineer, for the second time.

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Republican U.S. Rep. James Comer, of Bowling Green, defeated Democrat James Rhodes to win another term in his western Kentucky district.

Comer, who was recently selected to serve as the top-ranking Republican on a key investigative committee in Congress, will begin his third term in January in the state’s 1st District. He is a former state agriculture commissioner.

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Republican U.S. Rep. Harold Rogers defeated Democratic challenger Matthew Ryan Best on Election Tuesday to win his 21st term in the Appalachian area of southeastern Kentucky.

Rogers is Kentucky’s longest-serving politician in congress, having represented the state’s 5th district since 1981. He currently serves as the dean of the Kentucky’s congressional delegation, which includes five Republicans and one Democrat.

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Find AP’s full election coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/election-2020