Louisville accountant Brooks Wicker has filed as a Republican challenger against Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth in this year’s election.
The small business owner is the only GOP candidate to have filed thus far. But the filing deadline has been extended to February 7 due to bickering over redistricting in the General Assembly.
Wicker ran for the Republican nomination two years ago, but he lost in a four-way primary. He says he’s running again because constituents aren’t happy with the direction of Congress or the country, and Yarmuth has to answer for his role in that.
“Congressman Yarmuth is one of, if not, the most liberal member of Congress. He’s much too liberal for the district and for the country as a whole from my perspective,” he says.
Wicker faces an uphill battle against Yarmuth, who filed for re-election last month, is a popular incumbent with a hefty campaign war chest. The congressman’s campaign reported raising over $155,000 in the fourth quarter and boasts approximately $412,000 cash on hand.
Asked about Wicker’s criticisms that the congressman is too liberal, a Yarmuth campaign spokesperson brushed the GOP candidates remarks to the side.
“Congressman Yarmuth is engaged in critical debates on the federal budget, long-term transportation and infrastructure plans, and extending the payroll tax cut so that taxes don’t increase for millions of Americans,” says Sarah Martin, Yarmuth’s campaign treasurer. “His focus right now is on representing the people of the Third District. He will be more than happy to debate the GOP nominee when the time comes.”
The lone Republican nominee must also overcome the 2-to-1 Democrat to Republican margin among registered voters in Louisville. And considering President Obama won Jefferson County in both the 2008 primary and general election, him being at the top of the ticket doesn’t help either. However, political observers point out that former Republican Congressman Anne Northup defeated Democratic incumbent Mike Ward during a presidential election with a popular Democrat at the head of the ticket.
Wicker says his campaign will raise the necessary funds to be competitive and focus on jobs, government regulation and President Obama’s healthcare law.
“The people I talk to across the district are not just Republican voters, they’re Democratic voters and independents,” he says. “A large number of those people are not happy with the direction of our country or the representation and leadership that we have. And they want a change. If you stick to the themes of the economy and jobs, it’s going to be a message that will be well received and make me competitive in this race.”