Politics & Government

The color of Kentucky politics is white

In the very white world of Kentucky politics, race seldom is much of an issue.

In May, when Republican U.S. Senate nominee Rand Paul criticized the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for interfering with property rights, there was more outrage around the nation than in Kentucky. Paul remains ahead in most polls.

When Republican U.S. House nominee Garland "Andy" Barr recently was asked about his membership in Lexington's historically all-white Idle Hour Country Club, he offered no apology. His campaign noted Idle Hour recently admitted its first black member, former University of Kentucky and NBA basketball star Sam Bowie, so it's now racially integrated.

"Andy has supported and will continue to support increased diversity in all organizations he is a part of," said Barr campaign manager John Connell. Barr also is a board member of the Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden in Lexington, which celebrates the history of Murphy and other black jockeys.

Barr's opponent, U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Versailles, said he won't make Barr's club membership a campaign issue. Kentuckians don't dwell on such things, Chandler said.

"We've moved past all that, and we're in a better place now," said Chandler, who is white, as are Paul and Barr — and for that matter, everyone ever elected to federal or statewide office in Kentucky.

Read the complete story at kentucky.com