Democrat Amy McGrath made a closing pitch to a statewide TV audience Monday night at a forum that took place as her Republican opponent in Kentucky — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — basked in the confirmation of another conservative to the Supreme Court.
While McGrath and Libertarian candidate Brad Barron took turns answering questions, McConnell finished shepherding through Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the nation’s highest court.
Down in the polls and barely a week before Election Day, McGrath was on the attack from start to finish. The retired Marine combat pilot accused McConnell of misplaced priorities by pushing through Barrett’s confirmation while another coronavirus relief package has stalled in Congress.
“Here we are, we need more aid,” McGrath said during the forum on Kentucky Educational Television. “That’s what Kentuckians need right now — families, schools, business. And what’s Sen. McConnell doing right now? He’s ramming through a Supreme Court nominee with eight days to an election. Is he working on coronavirus aid that we need in Kentucky?”
For months, McConnell has crisscrossed Kentucky to tout his lead role in passing a $2 trillion economic rescue package early in the fight against the pandemic. In late summer, McConnell unveiled a slimmed-down version of another relief package totaling about $500 billion, which stalled amid partisan wrangling over its size and scope.
McGrath said McConnell waited too long and offered too little in relief. McGrath, who needs to win over some of President Donald Trump’s supporters to pull an upset, said she sides with Trump’s recent push for a bigger aid package. McConnell has said if such a bill passed the Democratic-controlled House with Trump’s blessing “we would put it on the floor of the Senate.”
McGrath talked about how the pandemic has affected her own life, saying: “I’m just like everybody else. I’m a regular Kentuckian. I’m trying to put my kids through school right now.” Some polling has indicated that she’s struggled to connect with some Kentuckians.
Meanwhile, McConnell has been Trump’s chief ally as the Senate has confirmed more than 200 federal judges — including three Supreme Court justices — put forward by Trump to put a more conservative imprint on the federal judiciary.
Barrett’s confirmation secured a likely conservative court majority for years to come. In a Senate speech Monday, McConnell said that “by any objective standard” Barrett deserved to join the court.