Amy McGrath, a retired U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant colonel, is a Democrat taking on Mitch McConnell for his senate seat, and she’s banking on collective revulsion of the Senate Majority Leader to get her there. So far, this reliance has yielded impressive results: Since launching her Senate bid on Tuesday, McGrath received over $2.5 million in donations in 24 hours from nearly 70,000 individuals.
McGrath ran for a Kentucky 6th congressional district in the 2018 midterm elections, but lost to incumbent Republican Andy Burr. Setting her sights on a bigger fish in the hellish seas of Washington seems lofty, but McGrath seems keen to give it a go.
“Bit by bit, year by year, [McConnell has] turned Washington into something we all despise. Where dysfunction and chaos are political weapons, where budgets and healthcare and the supreme court are held hostage, a place where ideals go to die,” McGrath said in her official campaign video. “I’m running for Senate because it shouldn’t be like this. I learned as a daughter, a mom, a Marine, and a fighter pilot, that the mission can never be forgotten.”
McGrath might even have a personal ax to grind on top of this: As a child, she wrote to McConnell about wanting to be a fighter pilot; he never bothered to respond.
Meanwhile, McConnell’s team has responded to McGrath’s senate bid in kind, painting her as an extremist due to her pro-abortion stance as well as her opposition to President Trump’s wall. But while McConnell described McGrath as “too liberal for Kentucky” in their attack ad, McGrath is actively courting the kind of voters who may be inclined to agree with such a charge.
From the New York Times:
Ms. McGrath has adopted an unusual strategy for a Democrat: She is blaming Mr. McConnell for blocking legislation and cultural changes in Washington sought by Mr. Trump.
“Kentuckians voted for Donald Trump because they wanted to drain the swamp and lower prescription drug prices,” she said. “A lot of what has stood in the way of what Donald Trump promised is Senator McConnell.”
This may be a smart strategy if she wants to siphon votes from McConnell in a state that voted overwhelmingly for Trump, but it’s worth noting that McGrath isn’t a leftist dream. It’s too early to deduce that she’d be the Joe Manchin of Kentucky, but McGrath is a self-described moderate who believes the Democrats currently running for president are veering too far to the left. She doesn’t support eliminating private insurance under a Medicare-for-all plan, nor does she support subsidizing healthcare for undocumented immigrants. She also describes herself as a fiscal conservative and believes her “realistic” approach to foreign policy and defense will appeal to moderates.
Still, McGrath’s vision of a better America undoubtedly surpasses McConnell’s, a man who is more concerned about maintaining absolute power than bettering American lives. She’s not bad. She’s just fine. And just fine is leaps and bounds better than descriptor one can offer McConnell.
McGrath’s official campaign slogan is “Anti-corruption, anti-obstruction, anti-B.S.” Democrats nationwide might happily pour money into her Senate bid, but it’s Kentuckians who ultimately decide whether they buy what McGrath is offering.