Matt Jones, a Kentucky sports radio host whose political blood runs as blue as Rupp Arena on game day, said this week he is considering a run for Congress in the state’s bright red 6th District against Republican incumbent Andy Barr.
Jones said on his radio show Monday that he had met with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for “a couple of days” in June in Washington and that he was seriously considering their pitch.
“I want to thank the many of you who have contacted me about the Congressional race. The support means a lot and I appreciate it immensely,” he said Monday on Twitter . “I will make a decision in the next few weeks. For now, I am ready for this UK Football season to get going.”
Jermaine House, a spokesman for the DCCC, confirmed to CQ Roll Call that the group had reached out to Jones about a possible run.
"Matt Jones' listeners have a great passion for him. If he is able to transfer that energy and passion to a campaign, then Kentucky Republicans will have a lot worry about 2016," House said on Tuesday.
Barr spokesman Rick VanMeter shrugged off the Jones speculation in a statement.
“Congressman Barr is a big fan of Kentucky Sports Radio. But like Congressman Barr, KSR listeners are passionate about University of Kentucky athletics, not politics,” he said. “Apparently, the national Democratic campaign committee knows so little about our state, they have confused the two.”
Despite the fact that his high profile in Kentucky was earned mostly from sports, Jones – a Duke University educated lawyer who clerked for three federal judges – has not avoided forays into politics.
For example, he hosted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his Democratic opponent, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, on his show during their 2014 matchup. And earlier this year, Jones — who Kentucky Democrats said has been working the circuit of local party events — served as the master of ceremonies at the Fancy Farm Picnic, an annual affair that draws the state’s political class to rural, western Graves County.
Jones has already faced some heat from his listeners for considering getting into the race.
A Democratic run in the 6th District, which includes Lexington, would be an uphill climb. In 2012, Barr beat the Democratic incumbent, Rep. Ben Chandler, by 4 points in 2012, and the next cycle, beat the Democrat by nearly 20 points. Plus, Barr has nearly $1 million in the bank.