The Kentucky Senate primary finally concluded on Tuesday, a week after voters went to the polls. After progressive candidate Charles Booker gave her a-- literal--run for her money, Amy McGrath managed to clinch the nomination. In a primary that was once viewed as virtually uncontested, Booker put up quite the fight against Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s (DSCC) hand-picked candidate. Booker’s late-traction forced McGrath to spend upwards of $3 million on ads in the final weeks of the primary.
Though McGrath was able to fundraise at an impressive rate, her primary campaign was stained by her gaffes, widely-condemned television ads and even typos on campaign mailers. McGrath’s last-minute implosion, bolstered by the rise of Booker, led a handful of Democrats to rescind their endorsements in favor of Booker.
Now that she managed to be dragged over the primary finish line, courtesy of fundraising and ad spending, McGrath will officially face Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in November. Leader McConnell’s re-election campaign frames McGrath as “extreme” given her stance on abortion, and capitalizes on the Senate hopeful’s own words, including that she is “further left” and “more progressive” than anyone in Kentucky.
“Extreme Amy McGrath is lucky to have gotten out of the primary with a victory, but her reputation sustained significant damage all across Kentucky,” McConnell Senate Committee press secretary Kate Cooksey said. “McGrath is just another tool of the Washington Democratic establishment who has no idea what matters most to Kentuckians. It’s clear this self-proclaimed most liberal person in Kentucky who supports government-run health care and abortion even in the ninth month does not represent Kentucky values.”
A long-shot pick-up for Democrats as they seek to flip the Senate majority, Leader McConnell’s seat is rated “likely Republican” by Cook Political Report. McGrath’s dismal candidacy, and lack of local enthusiasm behind her bid, only bolster the Kentucky Republican’s re-election campaign.
“Amy, it’s great to have you,” Cooksey added.