Kentucky has just elected a Democratic governor, Andy Beshear. That may seem remarkable considering that both senators are Republican and both state houses are Republican majority. But in fact, Kentucky has a history of choosing Democratic governors. Of the past 45 governors to serve the state, 35 were Democrats, including Beshear’s father, Steve Beshear. Analysts tend to attribute Beshear’s win to his opponent Matt Bevin’s unpopular reputation in the state—apparently they haven’t studied Kentucky’s gubernatorial history. If this is true, however, perhaps there is hope the same trend will extend to this year’s Senate election.
Republican incumbent: Mitch McConnell
Why McConnell is a target: The Majority Leader of the Senate is known by several names these days. Moscow Mitch (he doesn’t like that one). Cocaine Mitch (he sold t-shirts using that one). The Grim Reaper (gave that one to himself). But perhaps the most significant name associated with Mitch McConnell is Merrick Garland.
Garland, who was President Barack Obama’s final pick to the Supreme Court, found himself blocked, along with hundreds of President Obama’s federal judge picks, by McConnell’s refusal to handle the nomination. Now McConnell is ushering hundreds of ultra conservative judges into our judicial system, some ranked “Not Qualified’ by the Bar Association. This seems to be the only work he’s willing to do. 400 pieces of legislation passed by the House sit on his desk like so much junk mail, never to be moved to a floor vote. And McConnell’s coordination with the White House turned the Senate impeachment trial into nothing more than a series of great speeches from Democratic managers and a series of lies from Trump lawyers.
Measured by the polling in their own states, McConnell is the second most unpopular senator in Congress. If any seat in the Senate is as important to flip as the presidency, it’s McConnell’s.
Democratic challenger: Amy McGrath
Why McGrath has a real chance: Let’s be honest. McGrath has stumbled a few times. But with experience as a Marine fighter pilot for 20 years, with 89 missions against Al Qaeda and the Taliban, she’s tough. It’s going to take a tough fighter to go up against Mitch McConnell.
And it’s going to take smarts. McGrath’s response to McConnell’s latest boasting about infrastructure funds he’s bringing to Kentucky is that any senator will do that for the state. “When I was in the military, that’s part of your fitness report, you get an average grade for that, but you’re not gonna get a medal. You have to do so much more, and on the bigger and broader issues, Senator McConnell fails over and over again.” McGrath plans to campaign by focusing on issues pressing in Kentuckians’ lives, such as coal miners and health care.
Make no mistake, McConnell will be a force to reckon with after finishing 2019 with more than $11.5 million cash on hand and having firm support from President Trump. McGrath has recently gotten the nod from the DSCC, and that will boost her profile and her ability to raise cash. The endorsement has, of course, been criticized by other candidates in the race, but McGrath has worked hard to present herself to the public, starting with her famous “Told Me” ad that went viral in 2017.
Amy didn’t win her bid for the House seat. Let’s do what we can to get her into the Senate. If you need inspiration, here’s Amy’s updated ad.
Full list of Democratic candidates:
Charles Booker @Booker4KY
Mike Broihier @MikeForKY
Amy McGrath @AmyMcGrathKY
Mary: my dad was from Shelbyville, KY, outside of Louisville.He was a career foreign service officer, and would have been extremely concerned about the disrespectful treatment of diplomats this past year – by the Administration and by the Republican leadership in the Senate. While Mitch McConnell is not popular in Kentucky, Trump is extremely popular in the state.