McGrath wins primary to set up showdown with McConnell

Amy Mc Grath is seen in 2018. CNN projected Tuesday she'll be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's Democratic opponent in Kentucky in November

Amy McGrath, a former Marine fighter pilot, fended off a challenge from an upstart progressive, Charles Booker, ABC News projects, nabbing the Democratic nomination on Tuesday to take on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in November.

McGrath gained the support of several establishment Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), making her an initial favorite in the race combined with a large fundraising advantage over Booker.

McGrath has raised prodigious amounts of campaign cash, capitalizing on the wrath national Democrats have for McConnell. With 99% of precincts reporting Tuesday afternoon, she had an 11,832-vote advantage over Booker out of almost 531,000 votes cast.

Results from the race were delayed by widespread absentee voting due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Since last summer, McConnell and McGrath looked past their primaries to skirmish with each other, and now those attacks will intensify heading into the fall campaign. He joined demonstrations in his hometown of Louisville to demand justice for Taylor, who was fatally shot by Louisville police in her own home.


A prolific fundraiser, McGrath was the pick of the Senate Democratic campaign arm and brought in more than $40 million for her campaign. McGrath had been the most high-profile candidate, but Booker surged into contention with endorsements from progressive icons Sens. Her campaign received a cease-and-desist letter from coal miners who said they did not consent to being used in a political ad. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of MA, along with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of NY. However, unlike some of her Democrat challengers, she opposes Medicare-for-all.

McConnell accuses her of being too liberal for Kentucky on issues ranging from abortion to border security.

Though McConnell holds a low approval rating of 37%, according to a Morning Consult report from the end of 2019, the 78-year-old overwhelmingly won reelection in 2014 with similarly low levels of approval.

"The mission to defeat Mitch McConnell and defend our democracy goes on", she said. McConnell also plays up his Senate leadership role and his ability to steer federal money back to the Bluegrass State.

After gaining attention for the protests, Booker released an ad highlighting McGrath's answer in a June 1 debate, where she said she hadn't been to a Louisville protest in the few days prior. Earlier on Tuesday, Booker captured both Jefferson and Fayette counties, which cover Louisville and Lexington, but his edge was not enough to counter McGrath's lead with absentee ballots and some of the more rural parts of the state.

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