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Lexington Mayor To Run For Congress

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BEREA, Ky. (LEX 18) — Lexington Mayor Jim Gray announced Tuesday morning he is making another run at statewide office.

Appearing at Berea's temporary City Hall, Gray joined other Democratic contenders for the right to challenge 6th Congressional District Republican Rep. Andy Barr.

Gray offered his vision for preserving the American Dream, touting his executive experience running Kentucky's second-largest city as well as his background running his family's construction business.

Last year Gray, who's been Lexington mayor since 2011, lost a bid challenging Kentucky's junior senator, Republican Rand Paul.

“I’m running for Congress because too many people are working harder but not getting ahead. From growing up in a middle class family, to building a successful business, I’ve been lucky enough to live the American Dream. But today, the American Dream is threatened, it’s in trouble,” Gray said. “Healthcare costs are rising. The price of a good education is as high as ever. Wages aren’t growing fast enough to keep up. And Washington is too broken to solve these problems because of partisan politicians like Andy Barr who vote the way their party tells them, not the way that’s best for Kentucky.”

Gray concluded, “We need more leaders in Congress who are willing to bring people together to solve problems and protect the American Dream for all hardworking Kentuckians. That’s what I’ve done as Mayor, and that’s what I’ll do in Congress.”

State Sen. Reggie Thomas, retired marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath, and Geoff Young, all previously have announced their bids for the Democratic nomination.

McGrath issued a statement after learning of Gray's candidacy:

"I respect Mr. Gray's service and he has every right to run, but I learned as a Marine fighter pilot in Iraq and Afghanistan to stay focused on my mission. Too many Kentuckians are feeling left behind and the establishment politics of yesterday isn’t working.

"It's why I’m honored that over 13,000 small dollar donors have placed their faith in our shared mission. We need to rebuild the Democratic Party and make sure it stands for people from every walk of life, no matter where you live in Kentucky. I may not be a big city mayor, but I know we need someone who will fight for people in every city, town and county in this district. That’s the kind of campaign I’m running and that’s the kind of representative I’ll be."

Thomas, reacting to speculation he would drop out of the raise, took to Twitter to dismiss the idea:

"A competitive Democratic primary is good for the party and will make me a stronger candidate when I face Andy Barr next November. We have spent the last six months building a Kentucky based grassroots movement that will position me as the strongest candidate to beat Barr," he wrote.

Young also made a statement:

“Jim Gray and the crooked Kentucky Democratic Party (KDP) are trying to throw the 2018 election to Congressman Andy Barr (R). I can beat Barr (R), but Gray is a certain LOSER. He's more right-wing than Senator Rand Paul (R) on foreign policy, war and peace, and that contributed to Rand's victory in November, 2016. If you want to give Mister Barr 2 more years in Washington, support Jim Gray (D-Neocon). Jim Gray's platform in 2016 was despicably pro-war and neoconservative.”

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