Former Marine combat pilot Amy McGrath has edged out a victory in the surprisingly-close Democratic Senate primary fight in Kentucky.
McGrath narrowly beat state Rep. Charles Booker to the finish line thanks to a flood of absentee ballots caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which led to thousands of votes being mailed in prior Booker surging in the polls.
Booker, a progressive who openly supports “Medicare-for-all,” rose to national prominence in the wake of the killing of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor, a black woman, in Louisville, Kentucky.
Taylor was killed on March 13 during a botched police raid at her home, when officers used a no-knock warrant to enter the premises. Protesters have taken to the streets in Louisville demanding justice for her killing.
Booker, a black man, became actively involved in the protests, which mirrored those taking place nationwide against police injustice.
His involvement gained him the attention of some prominent progressives, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), as well as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), all of whom endorsed.
McGrath, meanwhile, had been the long-standing favorite to clinch the party’s nomination prior to the protests, raising an astonishing $41.1 million over the course of her Senate campaign thanks to the support of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
Following a fundraising haul brought in by his progressive endorsements, Booker hit McGrath for her absence at the protests.
McGrath struggled to explain during their final primary debate why she had not yet been to any of the protests in her area, stammering for a bit before saying that she had not done so because she was at home with her family. She went on to cite the coronavirus pandemic as a reason to avoid crowds.
With Booker out of her way, McGrath will now take on the GOP powerhouse himself, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
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