LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — LEX 18 projects Amy McGrath the winner of the U.S. Senate democratic primary, putting her against Senator Mitch McConnell in November.
McGrath edged out all of the other candidates in the state's June primary, including state Rep. Charles Booker, to win the Democratic nomination.
The race was neck-and-neck between McGrath and Booker throughout the day.
The day started out strong for Booker, who edged out McGrath for the Fayette Co. primary vote, and won in a landslide for the primary vote in Jefferson Co, propelling him to take the lead around 10:30 a.m.
But a late surge from McGrath locked up the win, regaining the lead with about 89-percent of precincts to report, and she'll move forward to November's election.
"I'm humbled that Kentucky Democrats have nominated me to take on Mitch McConnell in the general election and can't wait to get started in sending him into retirement and finally draining the toxic Washington political swamp that he built," said McGrath in a statement.
"I want to congratulate Charles Booker for his very impressive result, and also to Mike Broihier for stepping into this arena and making his passionate voice and ideas heard. I am proud to have competed against these men and, undoubtedly, doing so made me a better candidate. I hope I can rely on them for their help, guidance and advice for the fight ahead of us."
You can read McGrath's full statement here.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's press secretary, Kate Cooksey, sent the following statement after McGrath won the nomination.
“Extreme Amy McGrath is lucky to have gotten out of the primary with a victory, but her reputation sustained significant damage all across Kentucky. 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.
“Amy, it’s great to have you.”
In 2018, McGrath upset former Lexington Mayor Jim Gray by focusing on her message of putting the country before her political party. However, in November of that year, voters cast their ballots in the general election, and McGrath lost to Representative Andy Barr.
McGrath is running her Senate campaign on a moderate platform. She supports the Affordable Care Act but believes it falls short of where the health care system should be. However, unlike some of her Democrat challengers, she opposes Medicare-for-all.
In a one-on-one interview with LEX 18 News, McGrath says she supports a public option, Medicare buy-in, and lower prescription drug costs when it comes to healthcare.
"You can have an Uncle Sam plan that is not tied to your employer; that you could buy. You wouldn't have to be forced onto a government plan, but you could buy one if you wanted," said McGrath. "It just gives you another choice."
Click here to see the results.
Booker released the following statement on Tuesday afternoon.
“As a poor black kid growing up in the West End of Louisville, I spent a lot of my life feeling alone and invisible. I don’t feel alone anymore. Our movement, with faith much larger than a mustard seed, went up against $40 million and the entire Washington establishment, and I think it’s safe to say we shocked the world. From the hood to the holler, we stood our ground, and went toe to toe against the big donors, pundits, and DC politicians saying it wasn’t possible to run the kind of campaign I’ve always believed Kentucky deserves."
“We’ve proven Kentuckians are hungry for a new kind of leadership, one that puts working people and their struggles before corporate special interests and the corrupt politicians who serve them. We’ve proven you don’t have to pretend to be a Republican to run as a Democrat in Kentucky, and that people want big, bold solutions to the enormous crises our state is facing, whether that’s structural racism and inequity, generational poverty, climate change, or a health care system that leaves millions uninsured and uncovered. Our campaign caught fire because we did the impossible: we spoke the truth in Western Kentucky, locked arms in Eastern Kentucky, rallied for Black lives across the Commonwealth, and talked with coal miners about a Green New Deal. We stood up for teachers and labor. We inspired Kentuckians in the forgotten places to believe their voices matter, and to get involved in the political process. We fought for Medicare For All because health care is a human right, and we talked about true public safety because Breonna Taylor didn’t deserve to be killed in her own home. The tear gas burned, but we didn’t sit down; we showed the country what Kentucky is made of.
“We went from being down 50 points in the polls to falling just short of a tie. While I’m disappointed, I’m so proud of us, and I’m still hopeful. Hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians left behind by Mitch McConnell came together to demand a better future, and a better government. We’re not going anywhere, and we’ll have more news on the future of our movement in the coming days.
“While we commend Gov. Beshear and state leaders for quickly pulling together a voting system that protects public health and ballot access amidst unprecedented circumstances, I want to acknowledge that our campaign has heard from voters across the state who had trouble making their voices heard, and their votes counted. Too many Kentuckians still can’t check the status of their mail-in ballot online, and others have no idea if their ballot is among the thousands that were cancelled by election officials because of missing signatures, missing flaps, or improper sealing. We’ve explored legal remedies to those problems, and they don’t exist under current law.
“I want to be clear: this isn’t about me and Amy. I accept the results of this election, and concede this race. But we will push in the coming days to ensure transparency and accountability in our state’s electoral system, because it is essential that every single Kentuckian has faith in our democracy as we go forward.
“Lastly, let me say this: don’t ever let someone tell you what’s impossible. Don’t ever give up on your dreams for a brighter future. No matter where you are from, what color your skin is, how much money you have, who you love, what pronoun you use, whether you walk or use a wheelchair, or what you believe—you matter. You deserve a government that accounts for your humanity. From this moment on, let’s take the frustration we feel and commit to fighting for change like never before. Let’s dedicate to the work of beating Mitch, so that we can get him out of the way. Yes, I would love to be your nominee, but know I’m still by your side. Thank you for giving me this opportunity. Kentucky, I love you. From the hood to the holler.”