A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Amy McGrath to seek Democratic nomination to face incumbent Mitch McConnell for Senate in 2020


Staff report

Amy McGrath, a retired Marine fighter jet pilot from Northern Kentucky, has announced her 2020 candidacy for the Senate seat now held by Mitch McConnell.

McGrath, 44, a Democrat, lost her first race last year against incumbent Republican Andy Barr, by just three percentage points but her strong campaign propelled her to national prominence.

McGrath now lives in Georgetown with her husband, Erik Henderson, and three children.

Her candidacy is considered a recruiting coup for Democrats.

McGrath grew up in Northern Kentucky, graduated from Notre Dame Academy, and got an appointment to the Naval Academy. She flew 89 combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. She earned the nickname “Krusty.”

She served in the Pentagon and returned to the Naval Academy to teach.

McConnell is Senate Majority Leader and has been in Congress for more than 30 years. In 2020, he will be on the ballot with President Donald Trump who will be seeking re-election. McConnell relishes his role as the “Grim Reaper,” who blocks anything he opposes from coming to a vote in the Senate. He is considered the most powerful person in Congress.

In announcing her campaign, McGrath said, “It just shouldn’t be this way.

“(Mitch McConnell) has been unabashed about being a career politician — always putting D.C. lobbyists special-interest allies, and his own political career first, ahead of his country, our Constitution, and Kentucky.”

McGrath is expecting a tough race but says she is prepared for it. On MSNBC’s Morning Joe today, McGrath clearly placed herself at the moderate end of the Democratic Party. She said she would not support ending private health insurance or extending health care to undocumented immigrants, and she argued that McConnel wasn’t delivering on President Trump’s agenda.

“Trump promised to bring back jobs. He promised to lower drug prices for so many Kentuckians. . .Who stops the president from doing these things? Well, Mitch McConnell,” she said.

McConnell’s campaign “welcomed” McGrath to the race, posting a Twitter video of McGrath positions it said are “too liberal for Kentucky.”

Amy McGrath’s website is here.

Mitch McConnell’s website is here.


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