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Kentucky Democrats Locked In Tight Race For Senate Nomination

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Democrats Amy McGrath and state Rep. Charles Booker are locked in a tight race to see who will take on Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in November.

With less than 10% of precincts reporting, McGrath is leading Booker, who championed progressive ideas like the Green New Deal and Medicare-For-All, 44% to 39.6%, according to The Washington Post.

Due to the high amount of mail-in ballots, many counties indicated that they would not release their complete results until June 30.

While the early results show McGrath with a lead, no votes have been reported from Louisville, the state’s largest city and Booker’s hometown. Booker is expected outperform McGrath in the city, and is on track to do the same in Lexington as well.

Despite Kentucky’s rightward lean, the race has been in the national spotlight ever since McGrath announced her candidacy in July 2019. Since her campaign’s launch, she has raised over $40 million, more than both Democratic rivals and McConnell combined, according to the Courier Journal.

Her campaign raised so much money that the NRSC has reserved nearly $11 million for pro-McConnell ads, despite his 16-point win in 2014 and President Donald Trump’s 30-point victory in 2016.

McGrath was considered the heavy favorite in the race until only a few weeks ago. In the days building up to the primary election, Booker benefitted from strong, growing momentum, partially fueled by nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and high-profile endorsements from Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, according to his campaign.

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At a primary debate in early June, Booker contrasted himself with McGrath, describing how he had been marching with protesters almost daily while McGrath was at home with her family. The topic served as the foundation for a recent ad which attempted to paint McGrath as out of touch with Democrats nationwide.

The race is the latest to pit establishment Democrats against the party’s progressive wing. The DSCC endorsed McGrath in February, while progressive groups have backed Booker.

The eventual nominee will face an uphill battle against McConnell, who is running for a seventh term in the Senate and easily won his primary Tuesday.

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