Amy McGrath wins the Kentucky Democratic Senate primary, organizing a general election battle with McConnell


Former Navy pilot Amy McGrath defeated her progressive opponent Charles Booker in the Kentucky primary, setting up a high-profile showdown between herself and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in November, the Associated Press projected Tuesday. .

Ten candidates in total ran in the Democratic primary. McGrath had been the highest-profile candidate, but Booker was faced with the backing of progressive icons Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and First Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.

Booker embraced progressive ideas like universal basic income and Medicare for all, while McGrath resisted doing so.

The rise of Booker, who is black, came at a time of protests across the country over police brutality against minorities and systemic racism.

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Voting ended on June 23, but it took a week for McGrath to be declared the winner due to narrow race margins and the deluge of ballots by mail. McGrath’s victory seemed a certainty early in his campaign, but Booker’s profile increased when he highlighted protests against the death of African-Americans in encounters with police.

It was a close victory for McGrath. The Associated Press declared her the winner with 89 percent of the precincts reporting Tuesday afternoon, where she had a nearly 9,500 vote lead over Booker.

Since McGrath entered the race, she and McConnell have come face to face in attack advertising campaigns.

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The day after the Kentucky polls closed, McConnell won $ 1 million in donations. McGrath, backed by the Democratic establishment, had raised more than $ 40 million in early June, leveling the playing field between her and McConnell, always well-funded.

Still, he faces an uphill battle in the state that President Trump led by about 30 points in 2016.

Booker’s tough Senate nomination caught attention when he marched alongside protesters in his hometown of Louisville to demand justice for Breonna Taylor, a black woman shot at her home by police after executing a no-hit order on the house. wrong. Still, McGrath had a huge cash advantage over Booker.

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McGrath accuses McConnell of spending too much time on tax cuts for the wealthy and not enough time on affordable health care, hitting his vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act. McConnell’s campaign has said McGrath is too liberal for Kentucky, on issues from abortion to border security.

Ronn Blitzer and The Associated Press of Fox News contributed to this report.

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