Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has his 2020 challenger.
Amy McGrath, a former Marine pilot and Democratic congressional candidate, announced today that she will try to pry McConnell’s icy 34-year grip off his Kentucky Senate seat in 2020. In her launch video, McGrath opens by recalling a letter she said she wrote to McConnell when she was 13, telling him she wanted to become a military pilot. McGrath said McConnell “never wrote back.”
McGrath released a similar video ahead of her 2018 campaign for Rep. Andy Barr’s House seat, in which she detailed letters she had written to members of Congress asking them to overturn the military’s rule barring women pilots.
McGrath ultimately lost her 2018 bid against Barr by 3.2 points. McGrath beat out DCCC-backed Jim Gray, the Democratic nominee for the 2016 campaign for McConnell’s Senate seat, in the primary; she proceeded to raise millions in campaign donations and ultimately captured 47.8 percent of the vote in a district that Trump won by a massive 15-point margin in 2016. To hold onto his seat, Barr, a three-time incumbent, painted McGrath as a Hollywood Lib (despite the fact he hosted fundraisers there himself) and released attack ads that called out McGrath for being a leftist (despite the fact that she is definitively not.)
McConnell is already opting for a similar routine. At a Democratic fundraiser in Massachusetts last year, McGrath said that she was “further left,” and “more progressive” than anyone else in Kentucky. Tuesday morning, shortly after her launch, McConnell’s Senate campaign team pushed out this ready-to-go welcome post:
Just a thought: Republicans in red states are going to paint you as a raging socialist regardless of what you run on; instead of sprinting to the middle, it might not be the worst idea to face that head-on and explain to voters why that’s better than the existing alternative.