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Chandler's Opponent "faces long odds"

LEXINGTON, KY -- Lacking funds, Chandler's opponent faces long odds. Not long after U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Versailles, arrived in Washington D.C. in 2004, he met a fellow freshman legislator from Illinois who impressed him, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader in its Saturday edition.

So when Sen. Barack Obama announced his intentions to run for president, Chandler was one of the few Kentucky Democrats to endorse him.

Chandler knew the move wouldn't be popular in a state that overwhelmingly voted for Sen. Hillary Clinton during the May Democratic primary and where Republican nominee John McCain holds a solid lead over Obama. Hundreds of angry constituents called him, reports the Herald-Leader.

"I did it because I honestly believe that he can be a transformative figure," Chandler said. "I think he is exceptionally intelligent and he has the best interest of the country at heart." Despite the outrage from constituents, Chandler, 49, faces only token opposition in the Nov. 4 election.

Republican challenger Jon Larson, a Lexington lawyer who has run unsuccessfully for the Lexington Fayette Urban County Council and state Attorney General, has little name recognition and no campaign war chest, the Herald-Leader reports.

Chandler has both name recognition — his grandfather was popular Governor A.B. "Happy" Chandler — and a well-stocked campaign chest, nearly $1 million.

That means Chandler, a former two-term attorney general and state auditor. has spent more time campaigning for other candidates this election cycle then he has spent on his own election, reports the newspaper.

Meanwhile, Larson hasn't filed a campaign finance report with the Federal Election Commission because he hasn't raised or spent more than $5,000, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader.

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