LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Former Marine pilot Amy McGrath overcame a bumpier-than-expected Kentucky primary to win the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination on Tuesday, fending off progressive Charles Booker to set up a bruising, big-spending showdown with Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Voting ended June 23, but it took a week until McGrath could be declared the winner due to the races tight margins and a deluge of mail-in ballots. The outcome seemed a certainty early in the campaign but became tenuous as Bookers profile surged as the Black state lawmaker highlighted protests against the deaths of African Americans in encounters with police.
It was a narrow victory for McGrath. With 89 percent of precincts reporting Tuesday afternoon, she had a nearly 9,500-vote advantage over Booker.
Kentucky switched to widespread absentee voting amid the coronavirus pandemic, and election officials needed days to count ballots. McConnell, a key ally to President Donald Trump, already breezed to victory in the GOP primary in his bid for a seventh term.
Since last summer, McConnell and McGrath looked past their primaries to skirmish with each other, and now those attacks are expected to intensify as they head into the fall campaign.
McGrath was backed by the Democratic establishment looking for a challenger to keep McConnell tied down in Kentucky as the GOP tries to hold its Senate majority. She raised prodigious amounts of campaign cash that put her on equal footing with McConnell.
Despite her advantages, McGrath sweated out her primary victory against the hard-charging Booker.
Bookers long-shot Senate bid surged amid the national eruption of protests against police brutality. He joined demonstrations in his hometown of Louisville to demand justice for Breonna Taylor, who was fatally shot by Louisville police in her own home. Booker gained the backing of leading national progressives asRead More From Source