By John Friedlein
Landmark News Service
State Sen. Brett Guthrie on Tuesday won Kentucky’s 2nd District U.S. House seat, continuing a 14-year Republican run.
The Bowling Green businessman’s victory in this conservative district — 53-47 percent — also bucked a national trend that put a Democrat in the White House and gave that party more control of Congress.
Hardin County was expected to play a leading role in Guthrie’s race against state Sen. David Boswell, D-Owensboro, because it is the only one of the district’s three large population centers that wasn’t the hometown of one of the candidates. Guthrie carried the county 54-46 percent.
Both candidates carried their home counties. Guthrie, 44, who will find a Democratic majority in the House, has expressed a willingness to work across the aisle.
“What we really have to do, and I’m a strong believer in this, is we have to sit down as Republicans and Democrats and say we have to work together to solve problems,” Guthrie told a crowd of about 100 supporters Tuesday night at a Bowling Green hotel, according to the Associated Press. “We just need to change the culture.”
It is a much different atmosphere for Republicans than in 1994 when Ron Lewis of Cecilia took office the year of a GOP surge.
Lewis kicked off this year’s race with a political surprise when he dropped out of it right before the filing deadline.
During the race, Guthrie outpaced his rival in raising funds, mostly for TV ads. By Oct. 15, Guthrie had raised about $1.1 million to Boswell’s $657,000.
Boswell had to pay for a primary while Guthrie did not, and the Democrat received a late boost to his coffers. Also, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, seeing the race as winnable, backed Boswell.
That group funded a TV commercial claiming an auto parts factory owned by Guthrie’s family shipped jobs to Mexico, a claim Guthrie refuted. Guthrie, in these challenging economic times, has touted the jobs the business has created.
He also has said he will support the Hardin County area during the Fort Knox post realignment, which is a federal matter expected to greatly impact the area.
Boswell, 58, also stressed the importance of the changes at Fort Knox.
After the election, Boswell, in an e-mailed statement, congratulated his opponent on a “hard-fought campaign” and thanked supporters.
“I look forward to continuing to serve my constituents and the residents of the great commonwealth of Kentucky,” said Boswell, who serves in the state Senate. In Kentucky's other five congressional races, incumbents were returned in each case. Kentucky's House contingent remains four Republicans and two Democrats. Also, Mitch McConnell is being touted as America's top Republican with his re-election to a fifth term. McConnell defeated millionaire Bruce Lunsford in the U.S. Senate race. McConnell serves as the Republican leader in the Senate.