The Kentucky Senate Democratic primary race to determine who takes on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) in November is too close to call, according to projections made by “NBC News.”
As of Wednesday morning, Amy McGrath (D), a retired Marine lieutenant colonel, had a slight lead on Rep. Charles Booker (D-KY) by a margin of just over 2,000 votes in what looks like a tight race so far.
McGrath headed up Booker, 44 percent to 39.6 percent, in the votes that have been counted so far. But that tally only accounts for in-person voting from Tuesday’s primary — or about 10 percent of the ballots cast overall. With a a majority of ballots submitted by mail, the final results for that race are unlikely to be clearly determined for days.
In Kentucky, McGrath enthusiasts helped the retired Marine raise $2.5 million in her first 24 hours when she announced her bid last year. That excitement began to dry up when she said in an interview with The Courier-Journal of Louisville that she probably would have voted to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who is far from a favorite among Democrats. She later reversed her comment in support of Kavanaugh by tweeting that in fact she would not have confirmed him after further reflecting on his record.
By June 3, McGrath had raised over $41 million, according to most recent filings, obtained by “NBC News.” Some of that money though has already been dispensed ahead of the McConnell race in ads to take on emerging Democratic support for Booker, who entered the race in January.
Despite arriving later to the race, Booker distanced himself from McGrath in a recent television ad that cited how in an earlier “MSNBC” interview, McGrath blamed McConnell for getting in the way of Trump making genuine progress. In the ad Booker concludes that Kentuckians need “a real Democrat.” Booker threw his support behind Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, as well as an increasingly popular progressive platform on universal basic income.
Booker who is Black also picked up momentum during anti-racism protests. The lawmaker campaigned against inequality and racial injustice and was tear-gassed after joining police violence protests against the killing of Breonna Taylor, a black Louisville medical worker who was shot and killed by police in her apartment.
Booker was also boosted by endorsements from high profile Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren (MA) and Bernie Sanders (VT) who, according to a “Politico” report, tested his influence in state Congressional races by sending out texts to more than 120,000 of his supporters to promote Booker and other progressives.