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McGrath wins Dem primary, Booker concedes

Published: Jun. 30, 2020 at 5:44 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Amy McGrath was the favorite until the coronavirus and racial tensions changed the dynamics of the U.S. Senate Race. That’s when we saw the gap narrow between her and State Representative Charles Booker.

Despite that late surge, McGrath prevailed in Kentucky.

The former Marine pilot ran on a platform of equal pay, supported giving voters options for healthcare and criticizing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s policies.

Early on McGrath had national party leaders backing her, but Charles Booker gained traction with voters and politicians in recent weeks shedding light on racial injustice issues across the state.

Amy McGrath was the favorite until the coronavirus and racial tensions changed the dynamics of the U.S. Senate Race. That’s when we saw the gap narrow between her and State Representative Charles Booker.
Amy McGrath was the favorite until the coronavirus and racial tensions changed the dynamics of the U.S. Senate Race. That’s when we saw the gap narrow between her and State Representative Charles Booker.(WSAZ)

In the final weeks, Booker held a statewide bus tour, attended several protests in his hometown of Lousiville and held a Juneteenth rally in Lexington.

Booker won both of the state’s biggest cities.

McGrath’s appearances dwindled the last few weeks due to COVID-19.

Tuesday, McGrath acknowledged her opponent.

“There is no doubt that Charles tapped into and amplified the energy and anger of so many who are fed up with the status quo and are rightfully demanding long-overdue action and accountability from our government and institutions,” said McGrath.

McGrath argues she can bridge the divide and work with people across the aisle if she gets the Senate seat. She called on all Kentuckians, but specifically Booker’s supporters to back her in November.

In a tweet, Democratic Senate Candidate Mike Brohier called on his supporters to back McGrath in the November election.

Booker released this statement late Tuesday afternoon, in which he concedes the race to McGrath:

“As a poor black kid growing up in the West End of Louisville, I spent a lot of my life feeling alone and invisible. I don’t feel alone anymore. Our movement, with faith much larger than a mustard seed, went up against $40 million and the entire Washington establishment, and I think it’s safe to say we shocked the world. From the hood to the holler, we stood our ground, and went toe to toe against the big donors, pundits, and DC politicians saying it wasn’t possible to run the kind of campaign I’ve always believed Kentucky deserves.

“We’ve proven Kentuckians are hungry for a new kind of leadership, one that puts working people and their struggles before corporate special interests and the corrupt politicians who serve them. We’ve proven you don’t have to pretend to be a Republican to run as a Democrat in Kentucky, and that people want big, bold solutions to the enormous crises our state is facing, whether that’s structural racism and inequity, generational poverty, climate change, or a health care system that leaves millions uninsured and uncovered. Our campaign caught fire because we did the impossible: we spoke the truth in Western Kentucky, locked arms in Eastern Kentucky, rallied for Black lives across the Commonwealth, and talked with coal miners about a Green New Deal. We stood up for teachers and labor. We inspired Kentuckians in the forgotten places to believe their voices matter, and to get involved in the political process. We fought for Medicare For All because health care is a human right, and we talked about true public safety because Breonna Taylor didn’t deserve to be killed in her own home. The tear gas burned, but we didn’t sit down; we showed the country what Kentucky is made of.

“We went from being down 50 points in the polls to falling just short of a tie. While I’m disappointed, I’m so proud of us, and I’m still hopeful. Hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians left behind by Mitch McConnell came together to demand a better future, and a better government. We’re not going anywhere, and we’ll have more news on the future of our movement in the coming days.

“While we commend Gov. Beshear and state leaders for quickly pulling together a voting system that protects public health and ballot access amidst unprecedented circumstances, I want to acknowledge that our campaign has heard from voters across the state who had trouble making their voices heard, and their votes counted. Too many Kentuckians still can’t check the status of their mail-in ballot online, and others have no idea if their ballot is among the thousands that were cancelled by election officials because of missing signatures, missing flaps, or improper sealing. We’ve explored legal remedies to those problems, and they don’t exist under current law.

“I want to be clear: this isn’t about me and Amy. I accept the results of this election, and concede this race. But we will push in the coming days to ensure transparency and accountability in our state’s electoral system, because it is essential that every single Kentuckian has faith in our democracy as we go forward.

“Lastly, let me say this: don’t ever let someone tell you what’s impossible. Don’t ever give up on your dreams for a brighter future. No matter where you are from, what color your skin is, how much money you have, who you love, what pronoun you use, whether you walk or use a wheelchair, or what you believe—you matter. You deserve a government that accounts for your humanity. From this moment on, let’s take the frustration we feel and commit to fighting for change like never before. Let’s dedicate to the work of beating Mitch, so that we can get him out of the way. Yes, I would love to be your nominee, but know I’m still by your side. Thank you for giving me this opportunity. Kentucky, I love you. From the hood to the holler.”

Copyright 2020 WKYT. All rights reserved.

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