KY Senate Race 2020: Kentucky needs a change. Tuesday, Oct 20 2020 

By Catherine Brown-

Senator Mitch McConnell does not deserve a place in office anymore. It’s up to us to vote for Democrat Amy McGrath for Senate.

On Sept. 30, McGrath spoke to University of Louisville students at the Red Barn on the Belknap Campus. In her speech, she discussed the corruption of individuals in the government such as Sen. McConnell and President Donald Trump.

McGrath spoke to students about matters like registering to vote, racial injustice and preserving democracy.

“Kentucky has never made it easier to vote than this year,” McGrath said. “Your vote matters just as much as Mitch McConnell’s or Donald Trump’s or anybody else’s. They only get one vote, too.” 

McConnell has been in the U.S. Senate for 36 years. If he wins on Election Day, it could become 42. 

Over his 36 years in office, McConnell has left over 250 bills sitting on his desk, unread. This includes bills on gun control reform, health care and shielding survivors of domestic abuse.

U of L Young Democrats Treasurer Julia Mattingly plans to vote for Amy McGrath on Election Day.

“It’s about time we get Mitch McConnell out of office,” Mattingly said. “Considering the cards she’s been dealt, McGrath and her team have done their best to campaign throughout the state and promote her platform.”

Mattingly further explained that McGrath’s safe and socially-distanced campaign events are effective in promoting her platform. McGrath’s campaign also offers volunteer sign-ups after her speeches, where students can volunteer to make calls or canvass on her behalf.

Certainly, the young voters that she looks to appeal to appreciate her choice to take COVID-19 safety seriously.

Furthermore, McGrath and McConnell took part in the first Senate debate on Oct. 12. The candidates were questioned on multiple topics including whether Breonna Taylor received justice, Supreme Court nominations and handling of COVID-19.

Neither candidate actually answered whether they believe Breonna Taylor received justice. This is problematic because two white politicians can easily avoid talking about this, as it doesn’t directly affect them. Avoiding the actual question doesn’t do much to show that they care about this particular topic, so each politician needs to do better with their answer.

Both candidates denied wanting to defund the police and condemned the acts of looting and violent protests.

“We have to follow the laws that were written,” McConnell said. McGrath responded saying that she believes “leaders have to take a step back and recognize that we need change in this country.”

Sen. McConnell doesn’t want to bring change to a system that he doesn’t lose against.

Election Day is Nov. 3 and all eligible students, faculty and staff are encouraged to register to vote. 

Absentee ballots must be mailed by Nov. 3 at 6:00 p.m. Early voting started Oct. 13.

Don’t miss out on Election Day. Do your part as a voter.

Graphic by Alexis Simon // The Louisville Cardinal

The post KY Senate Race 2020: Kentucky needs a change. appeared first on The Louisville Cardinal.

KY Senate Race 2020: Get out and vote in Kentucky’s local elections. Tuesday, Oct 20 2020 

By Catherine Brown-

Local elections are around the corner and students are encouraged to vote. On Nov. 3, Kentucky voters will have the opportunity to vote for our next state senator. 

Republican candidate and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell faces opposition from Democrat Amy McGrath, a former U.S. Marine fighter pilot.

The intensity of this election has been building up for the past several years. 

In a red state like Kentucky, McConnell is already seen as a given winner. He has the power of incumbency that could easily bring him a win this fall. 

But Amy McGrath is certainly making a name for herself in this campaign cycle. Her campaign is known for many ads that catch viewers’ attention, including a cartoon series titled “Swamp Turtle.” The animation depicts McConnell as the titular swamp turtle, with episodes depicting his interactions with other politicians and reporters. The cartoon portrays McConnell as slow and apathetic towards current events.

However the decision is ultimately Kentucky voters’. Those who vote are able to make a difference for those who can’t vote.

By voting, you impact the future for millions of children, non-citizens, and those who can’t vote due to physical restrictions.

This election is probably not going exactly how everyone expects it should. With COVID-19 affecting polling locations and voting procedures, it’s hard to get used to a new Election Day. But every registered voter should know that when they first registered, they were signing up to exercise their constitutional right to vote. 

The Cardinal has created two articles on both Senate candidates with U of L student’s opinions on who you should vote for.

For an opinion on why you should vote for Amy McGrath, click here.

For an opinion on why you should vote for Sen. Mitch McConnell, click here.

Remember, the time to vote is now. Early voting has already started. Have you made your plan to vote this year?

For more information on how to vote this year, visit the Jefferson County Clerk’s website, or Kentucky’s official voting resource website.

Graphic by Alexis Simon // The Louisville Cardinal

The post KY Senate Race 2020: Get out and vote in Kentucky’s local elections. appeared first on The Louisville Cardinal.

Gov. Beshear Endorses McGrath In Kentucky’s U.S. Senate Race Monday, Sep 14 2020 

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Gov. Andy Beshear has endorsed Amy McGrath in her race against Mitch McConnell during Kentucky’s race for U.S. Senate this year.

The endorsement isn’t a surprise—Beshear and McGrath are both Democrats—but does put Beshear at odds with McConnell, the senate majority leader, as he tries to seek more federal assistance for Kentucky during the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement, Beshear wrote that he believes McGrath has the right character and vision to lead the state through crisis.


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Amy McGrath’s Campaign Joins Lawsuit For More Polling Locations Friday, Jun 12 2020 

Democratic Senate candidate Amy McGrath has filed a motion to intervene in a federal lawsuit demanding more in-person polling locations in Kentucky’s most populous counties.

Most Kentucky counties will only have one polling location for the June 23 primaries after mail-in voting was expanded to all eligible voters in Kentucky to prevent long lines during the coronavirus pandemic.

The lawsuit was originally filed by Republican state Rep. Jason Nemes and McGrath has asked to join the challenge, arguing that the current scheme restricts citizens’ right to vote.

“As has been seen in the other states that have restricted the number of polling sites, it is expected that lines in the populous Kentucky counties that are only providing a single voting location will be excessively long, leading many who intended to vote in-person to abstain from voting at all,” the lawsuit states.

McGrath’s campaign pointed to confusion and long lines during Atlanta’s primary elections earlier this week after Georgia reduced its number of polling locations and many people said they didn’t receive mail-in ballots.

The lawsuit calls for polling locations to be expanded in Jefferson, Fayette, Kenton, Boone and Campbell Counties, “in addition to other large Kentucky counties.”

McGrath said that long wait times would disproportionately impact Black communities.

“The single polling location in Fayette and Jefferson counties will result in the denial or abridgement of the right to vote of many Black supporters of the McGrath Campaign and others on account of their race or color in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965,” the lawsuit states.

In McGrath’s motion to intervene, her campaign called for extending the deadline to request a ballot until June 19 and provide ballots at curbside until June 22.

The campaign also called for the court to allow campaigns, volunteers or civic organizations to complete ballot requests for voters over the phone.

Currently voters can request ballots until Monday, June 15 at 11:59 pm at GoVoteKY.com or at local county clerk’s offices.

Ky. Rep. Charles Booker Announces Potential U.S. Senate Bid To Challenge McConnell Monday, Nov 11 2019 

Kentucky state representative Charles Booker says he is exploring a run for U.S. Senate in 2020, potentially challenging Democrats Amy McGrath and Mike Broihier in the primary in hopes of taking on incumbent Republican Mitch McConnell next November. Booker announced the formation of his exploratory committee by video on Monday.

Booker, 35, is a liberal legislator and lawyer from Louisville who was elected to his first term last year. He serves on the Natural Resources and Energy, Judiciary, and Economic Development and Workforce Investment committees. Booker is a member of the Louisville Metropolitan and Kentucky Black Legislative caucuses.

McConnell, the longtime senator and now Senate majority leader, has never lost a Senate race. First elected in 1984, he has over time consolidated his power, a fact conservative supporters love and opponents lament.

He is also the subject of Booker’s campaign announcement video.

“He doesn’t need hope or faith. He’s got money and power,” Booker says, of McConnell. “And the more power he’s winning Washington, the more we lose in Kentucky.”

Forming an exploratory committee allows candidates to raise money to pay for polling and other campaign expenses while deciding whether to officially run.

In the video, Booker criticizes McConnell’s polices, through explicit references and allusions to climate change, gun violence and health care. He calls for a Green New Deal and for Medicare for All.

His support for those policies puts him to the left of McGrath, a retired Marine fighter pilot who narrowly lost a challenge to incumbent U.S. Rep. Andy Barr.

The other Democrat who has filed to run in next year’s primary election is Mike Broihier, a retired Marine, news editor and farmer.

Radio host Matt Jones has also formed an exploratory committee, but has not decided whether to officially run.

Former Republican state Rep. Wesley Morgan is the lone Republican who has filed to challenge McConnell in next year’s primary election.

The primary election is May 19, 2020.

Booker did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

ANALYSIS: Could Matt Jones Actually Beat Mitch McConnell?  Friday, Aug 30 2019 

Sports radio host Matt Jones would be a big underdog in a Senate race against Mitch McConnell. But he might have a better chance than Amy McGrath.

Jones announced on Thursday that he is forming an exploratory committee to consider a run against McConnell, but put off formally deciding if he will enter the race until after this November’s statewide elections in Kentucky. It’s likely that Jones will run if Kentucky Democrats strongly encourage his candidacy and therefore it seems he would defeat McGrath in next May’s Democratic primary. I expect he’ll back off if it’s clear McGrath is too strong of an opponent.

Jones’s potential candidacy raises three big questions:

  1. Would he actually win a primary against McGrath (and also longshot candidate Mike Broihier, who is, like McGrath, an ex-Marine?)
  2. Does Jones have a real shot of defeating McConnell in a general election?
  3. Even if Jones is a big underdog, would he be a stronger challenger to McConnell than McGrath?

These questions are very connected to one another, of course. Kentucky Democrats really hate McConnell, so they are likely to prioritize “electability” in a Senate Democratic primary, looking for the candidate who has the best chance to topple the incumbent. If Jones can present himself as the best candidate against McConnell, then I think he will be a strong contender in the primary.

So does Jones have a real shot of beating McConnell? Yes, but a fairly slim one. Jones’ biggest problem is the same as McGrath’s: he’s a Democrat.

In elections for state-based offices like governor or attorney general, Americans sometimes will vote for a candidate who isn’t from the party they generally align with (so Massachusetts has a Republican governor, Louisiana a Democratic one.) But an Andy Beshear victory in the governor’s race this November doesn’t necessarily portend Democrats beating McConnell in 2020. Why not? Because states increasingly back the same party for U.S. Senate and president. Kentucky leans conservative in federal elections (about 15 points to the right of the country) and President Donald Trump is popular here (61 percent approval, 35 percent disapproval, according to recent polling from the firm Civiqs).

Trump is likely to win by double digits in Kentucky in 2020, no matter who the Democrats nominate against him in the presidential election. McConnell is fairly unpopular (36 percent approve of him in Kentucky, 50 percent disapprove, per Morning Consult). But Trump has already endorsed the senator and I would expect the vast majority of the president’s backers to also vote for McConnell.

Duh, Kentucky is a red state you might say. But does Jones give Democrats a better chance than McGrath, even if that is a fairly small chance? I’m not sure, but I think so.

The results from McGrath’s 2018 House race are not promising for Democrats, in terms of projecting her statewide appeal. The former Marine fighter pilot won the two counties that include most of the cities of Frankfort and Lexington — and lost the 17 more rural ones in Kentucky’s Sixth District. Kentucky is one of the most rural states in the nation — a candidate who can only appeal to more urban voters will struggle to get elected statewide here. McGrath campaigned heavily in the rural areas in her district in 2018. But I suspect her biography (she is a pro-abortion rights Democrat who had bragged about how liberal she is and spent much of her adult life outside of Kentucky) limited her appeal to more conservative and rural voters, who may not have been as moved by McGrath’s military background as Democrats expected.

Jones is known to many Kentuckians because he talks about sports on TV and the radio — so his biography and identity probably seem less stereotypically liberal than many other Democrats. He has listeners in more rural areas of the state. He, at least at first glance, seems more likely than McGrath to not be dismissed by more conservative voters.

But I don’t want to overstate this case. McGrath ran a fairly strong campaign for the House. She has enough of a following in Kentucky and nationally to have raised $2.5 million in her first day as a candidate. Jones has never run for any elective office before. He could be a bad candidate, unable to speak about policy issues fluently. And once he is campaigning for the Senate, Jones will seem more like a traditional politician and lose some of his sports guy brand.

Jones has not detailed his positions yet. But if he enters the race, Democratic activists and the press are going to try to pin down Jones on a number of issues. Does Jones support the Green New Deal? How about Medicare-for-All? Would he embrace getting rid of the filibuster for legislation in the Senate? Does he consider Trump a racist or a white supremacist or neither? Does he think Trump should be impeached? What are his exact views on abortion? Answering all of those questions is likely to further box in Jones as politician — and some of his answers are likely to turn off the people who liked to hear him talk about sports.

I suspect that Jones will end up taking a bunch of left (but not very left) positions on the issues, while trying not to bash Trump too much (because he may need some Trump voters to win the general election.) In short, Jones could end up being another version of McGrath — a Lexington-area based Democrat who might have trouble appealing to the state’s more rural voters because he is both urban and fairly liberal, while also annoying the party’s liberal base by not taking on Trump aggressively enough.

My bottom line — the potential candidacy of Jones is a very interesting development. It seems like Jones, more so than any other Democrat in Kentucky, has the potential to get voters to think about voting for the person and not the party, because he would be such a non-traditional candidate. But I emphasize potential. Jones has to decide if he wants to join McGrath in what might be an ultimately futile enterprise — trying to win a Senate seat in Kentucky as a Democrat when Donald Trump is on the ballot.

Perry Bacon Jr. is a national political writer based in Louisville. You can reach him via Twitter or e-mail.