Recap of The Kentucky Debate on WKYT

Published: Oct. 13, 2020 at 12:35 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The first day of early voting comes just hours after The Kentucky Debate.

Senator Mitch McConnell and retired Lieutenant Colonel Amy McGrath faced off in their first, and likely only, debate Monday night on WKYT.

Nothing else is scheduled in the next three weeks before the election.

Monday night, McConnell and McGrath spent an hour talking about their many differences.

The coronavirus and the response to it was a big topic, with McGrath saying she would give the White House an “F” for their response. Her criticism of McConnell led to a clip that’s been viewed hundreds of thousands of times online:

“The House passed a bill in May. The Senate went on vacation. You just don’t do that. You negotiate, senator, it is a national crisis. You knew that the coronavirus wasn’t going to end at the end of July,” McGrath said.

McConnell responded by talking about the CARES Act, which Kentucky businesses were able to use.

“What I did, was shepherd through the Senate an almost $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill which has provided $13 billion for Kentucky, over a billion dollars for hospitals and medical care providers," McConnell said.

They also talked about racial injustice and police violence.

“I think we should have a national database of police officers,” McGrath said. "In other words, if you get dismissed from one police department, you don’t get to go to another one without people knowing your record.”

“I put on the floor the justice act which was drafted largely by Tim Scott my colleague from South Carolina, an African American man himself who has experienced the kind of extra suspicion that African Americans are frequently given," McConnell said.

They also talked about Kentucky’s coal industry, which has been steadily declining.

"At the beginning of the Obama administration, 50% was supplied by coal fire generation. At the end of the Obama administration, it was 30%. It wreaked havoc on coal country and left us to clean up the mess,” McConnell said.

The decline of coal is a function of renewable energy being cheaper," McGrath said. “It’s a function of automation of fracking which Senator McConnell pushed for but we have got to have a plan for the future.”

Both candidates used McConnell’s time in office as one of their biggest talking points.

“All you just heard. How is it working out for you right now? How’s Kentucky looking? Are you better off than you were six years ago? are you better off than you were 36 years ago?” McGrath said.

“I give Kentucky an opportunity to punch above its weight on national issues and to bring home things for this state that it would not otherwise get, ”said McConnell.

Following the debate, both campaigns released statement’s declaring victory, which to be expected.

The Kentucky Democratic Party also released a statement calling on McConnell to apologize for saying McGrath’s campaign could be boiled down “she was a marine, a mom and that he’s been there too long”

Tuesday, McGrath said no apology was needed and her campaign is now selling items with that slogan on them.

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