Ben Chandler

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Ben Chandler
Ben Chandler.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kentucky's 6th district
In office
February 17, 2004 – January 3, 2013
Preceded byErnie Fletcher
Succeeded byAndy Barr
47th Attorney General of Kentucky
In office
December 12, 1995 – December 9, 2003
GovernorPaul Patton
Preceded byChris Gorman
Succeeded byGreg Stumbo
Auditor of Kentucky
In office
December 10, 1991 – December 12, 1995
GovernorBrereton Jones
Preceded byBob Babbage
Succeeded byEd Hatchett
Personal details
Albert Benjamin Chandler III

(1959-09-12) September 12, 1959 (age 60)
Versailles, Kentucky, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Jennifer Chandler
EducationUniversity of Kentucky (BA, JD)

Albert Benjamin Chandler III (born September 12, 1959) is an American politician and lawyer who served as the United States Representative for Kentucky's 6th congressional district from 2004 to 2013. A Democrat, Chandler was first elected to Congress in a 2004 special election. He served until 2013, when he was defeated for re-election by Andy Barr in the 2012 election.

Early life, education and career[edit]

Chandler was born in Versailles, Kentucky on September 12, 1959, the son of Lucie "Toss" (née Dunlap) and A. B. Ben Chandler Jr.[1] His paternal grandfather, A. B. Happy Chandler., served as Governor of Kentucky, Commissioner of Baseball, and as a U.S. Senator.[2][3]

Chandler graduated with distinction from the University of Kentucky with a BA in History and a J.D. from the University of Kentucky College of Law. Chandler became a private practice lawyer in Lexington, KY before starting his political career.

Early political career[edit]

Chandler started his political career as State Auditor (per the Constitution of the Commonwealth, officially called the "Auditor of Public Accounts") from 1991 to 1995. In 1995, Chandler won the Attorney General of Kentucky race by a 20-point margin, making him the youngest sitting attorney general in the nation at the time.[4] In 1999, Chandler was reelected to a second term as attorney general with no political opposition.[3]

As attorney general, Chandler championed Kentucky's "No Call" list and collected thousands of dollars in fines to the state for companies that did not comply with the new law.[5] Chandler also strengthened federal laws regarding the "No Call" registry.[6]

Also during his time as attorney general, Chandler recovered $45 million from one of Kentucky's largest insurance companies when it illegally moved funds out of state. This $45 million now funds the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.[7]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Congressman Chandler signs autographs for students visiting from Perryville, Kentucky.

Chandler represented the Sixth Congressional District of Kentucky in the United States House of Representatives since a special election in 2004 until 2013. Although Chandler is a Democrat, the Sixth Congressional District strongly leans Republican, rated by Charlie Cook in his Cook Partisan Voting Index as "R + 7,"[8] meaning a generic Republican running against a generic Democrat would win by 7 points more than he would nationally.

He is a moderate to conservative Democrat and in its 2010 vote rankings, National Journal rated Chandler as being the ideological center of the House of Representatives.[9] Although Chandler is a Democrat and has supported many Democratic bills including supporting healthcare for children through the SCHIP law[10] and the Recovery Act,[11] he has also voted against some large pieces of Democratic-led legislation including the Wall Street Bailout[12] and against the healthcare reform bill.[13]

Chandler was a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, a fiscally conservative Democratic caucus. This caucus is generally composed of Democrats serving Republican leaning congressional districts. He served as the chair of the national Blue Dog Task Force on Oversight and Regulatory Review.[14] According to the website, this taskforce "The Task Force on Oversight and Regulatory Review is responsible for taking a look at the nearly 8,000 regulations issued annually by the federal government and for analyzing these new rules to ensure Congressional intent is appropriately followed. Under the leadership of Chair Ben Chandler (KY-06) and Vice-Chair Tim Holden (PA-17), the Task Force monitors implementation efforts, identifies overly burdensome regulations and seeks to modify rules problematic to job creation."[14]

Chandler has voted in favor of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, against the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and the Troubled Asset Relief Program, against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, against Cut, Cap and Balance Act and for funding the State Children's Health Insurance Program.[15]

In 2010 Chandler was criticized for accepting campaign contributions from embattled Congressman Rep. Charles Rangel's National Leadership PAC.[16]

In September 2010, reported that Chandler was one of several "moderate Democrats facing tough re-election bids who are bucking the Obama administration and pushing to extend tax cuts at every income level."[17]

In 2011, Chandler voted for the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 as part of a controversial provision that allows the government and the military to indefinitely detain American citizens and others without trial.[18]


Chandler is a signer of Americans for Tax Reform's Taxpayer Protection Pledge.[19]

Committee assignments[edit]

Before being appointed to the Intelligence Committee, Chandler served on the Appropriations Committee.

Caucus memberships[edit]

A full list of Chandler's caucus memberships can be found here:

Chandler was a Blue Dog Democrat as well as a member of the House New Democrat Coalition. His name had been rumored as a candidate for governor for the 2007 election and Senator in the 2008 election. Chandler, however, announced on November 30, 2006, that he would not seek the governorship in 2007, stating he could better serve the Commonwealth in Congress: "With rising seniority and a Democratic majority, I have the opportunity to do so much more for my constituents and for the people of Kentucky."[20] Chandler told "Kentucky Newsmakers" that he would not start holding so-called town hall meetings in 2009, citing a lack of "civility" at forums regarding health care.[21] Chandler ultimately voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Political campaigns[edit]

Chandler was the Democratic candidate for governor in the election of 2003. He was defeated in that election by his Republican opponent, Congressman Ernie Fletcher. Fletcher resigned from Congress in order to become governor, and a special election was held for his seat in February 2004. Chandler became the Democratic candidate and won the election, defeating state Senator Alice Forgy Kerr by a 55%-to-43% margin.

As a superdelegate in the 2008 United States presidential election, Chandler endorsed Barack Obama.[22] Chandler's 2008 Republican opponent in the race for Congress was attorney Jon Larson.


Chandler was challenged by Republican nominee Andy Barr in the November 2010 election. Chandler was elected by a very narrow margin, as results showed him leading Barr by about 600 votes. The results were re-canvassed due to the closeness of the outcome, but Chandler was certified as the election winner on November 12, 2010.[23]

In October 2011, Barr called their forthcoming contest "a rematch of the third-closest Congressional race in America" and said that Chandler was burdened with "considerable dissatisfaction" on the part of his constituents and the difficulty of running on the ticket with Obama. But Joshua Miller of Roll Call observed that "if the bent of the GOP-leaning district grows more Democratic and Democrats who sat out 2010 come to the polls next November, Barr has a steep hill to climb."[24]


Chandler was again challenged by Barr. Randolph S. Vance ran as a write-in candidate. Barr defeated Chandler in the election, 50.6% to 46.7%.[25]

Post-congressional career[edit]

Chandler did not run for Governor in 2015,[26][27][28] though he has hinted that he might run for office again in the future.[29]

From 2013 to 2016, Chandler served as Executive Director of the Kentucky Humanities Council. Since 2016, he has been the CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.[30] He is a member of the ReFormers Caucus of Issue One.[31]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "chandler". Archived from the original on April 12, 2016. Retrieved November 14, 2012.
  2. ^ "Chandler, Albert Benjamin (Happy), (1898 - 1991)". United States Congress. Archived from the original on May 20, 2010. Retrieved May 21, 2010.
  3. ^ a b "Biography". U.S. Congress. Archived from the original on July 7, 2011.
  4. ^ "Race for Governor: Ben Chandler". Archived from the original on February 2, 2015. Retrieved September 17, 2012.
  5. ^ "KY Attorney General Talks About No Call List". August 12, 2002. Archived from the original on January 7, 2016. Retrieved September 17, 2012.
  6. ^ "Chandler Votes to Strengthen the National Do Not Call Registry". Archived from the original on July 7, 2011.
  7. ^ Tectonic Concepts, LLC. "Foundation for a Healthy KentuckyPresentations". Archived from the original on April 6, 2012. Retrieved September 17, 2012.
  8. ^ Partisan Voting Index Districts of the 113th Congress: 2004 & 2008
  9. ^ "The Centrists". February 24, 2011. Archived from the original on June 5, 2012. Retrieved September 17, 2012.
  10. ^ "Congressman Chandler Supports Health Insurance Legislation for Children". Archived from the original on July 7, 2011.
  11. ^ Anonymous. "Ben Chandler has proven record » Editorials". The Richmond Register. Retrieved September 17, 2012.
  12. ^ "Congressman Chandler Responds to Vote on Wall Street Bailout Plan". Archived from the original on June 2, 2011.
  13. ^ "Chandler Statement on the Affordable Health Care for America Act". Archived from the original on July 8, 2011.
  14. ^ a b "Task Force on Oversight and Regulatory Review | Blue Dog Coalition". Archived from the original on January 31, 2012. Retrieved September 17, 2012.
  15. ^ "Rep. Ben Chandler". GovTrack.
  16. ^ "Campaign contributions at issue in Kentucky race". Associated Press. August 4, 2010. Archived from the original on September 19, 2012. Retrieved April 27, 2012.
  17. ^ Abdullah, Halimah. "Ben Chandler backs tax-cut extension for the wealthy".
  18. ^ Connor Adams Sheets (December 16, 2011). "NDAA Bill: How Did Your Congress Member Vote?". International Business Times.
  19. ^ "The Taxpayer Protection Pledge Signers 112th Congressional List" (PDF). Americans for Tax Reform. Retrieved November 30, 2011.
  20. ^ [1]
  21. ^ Bryant, Bill (August 14, 2009). "Endorsement Intrigue.... Zesty Special Election". Archived from the original on January 7, 2016.
  22. ^ Kentucky Congressman Ben Chandler Endorses Barack Obama for President Archived July 22, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, Sam Graham-Felsen, April 29, 2008.
  23. ^ "Chandler Certified As Winner Of Congressional Race After Re-Canvass" Archived September 28, 2011, at the Wayback Machine,, November 12, 2010.
  24. ^ "Kentucky Democrat Ben Chandler May Have Advantage in House Rematch". Roll Call. October 25, 2011.
  25. ^ "KY - Election Results".
  26. ^ Brammer, Jack (August 4, 2012). "Chandler, Luallen turn up at picnic, sparking talk of 2015 gubernatorial race | Politics and Government". Retrieved July 10, 2013.
  27. ^ Brammer, Jack (May 10, 2013). "Ben Chandler is named director of Kentucky Humanities Council | Politics and Government". Retrieved July 11, 2013.
  28. ^ Truman, Cheryl. "Uncommonwealth: In his new role, Ben Chandler begins 'a labor of love' | Stage and Dance". Retrieved July 11, 2013.
  29. ^ "Chandler nixes gubernatorial rumors, for now". The Richmond Register. November 24, 2014. Retrieved November 26, 2014.
  30. ^
  31. ^ "Issue One – ReFormers Caucus". Retrieved November 7, 2019.

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Chris Gorman
Attorney General of Kentucky
Succeeded by
Greg Stumbo
Party political offices
Preceded by
Paul Patton
Democratic nominee for Governor of Kentucky
Succeeded by
Steve Beshear
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Ernie Fletcher
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kentucky's 6th congressional district

Succeeded by
Andy Barr