New Democratic challenger joins primary race against Mitch McConnell

Another Democrat has jumped into the race to unseat Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2020. Marine veteran Mike Broihier announced his candidacy this week with a campaign video.

In the video, titled “Labels,” several Kentuckians hold blackboard signs with different slurs and insults on them, such as a woman in business clothes holding a board saying “bitch,” and a young seemingly Hispanic girl holding a board saying “invader.” Other blackboards read “queer” and “hillbilly,” ending with two men holding blackboards that said “Democrat” and “Republican.”

“For 35 years, Mitch McConnell has used labels to reinforce old prejudices to divide us to maintain his grip on power but we’re more than a collection of labels,” Broihier said in his campaign video.

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Broihier is a retired Marine veteran and former small-town newspaper editor. He joins Amy McGrath in the Democratic primaries. McGrath, also a Marine veteran, was narrowly defeated in her House race against Rep. Andy Barr in 2018.

McGrath had a strong campaign launch, raising nearly $2.5 million in her first 24 hours in the race. Still, McConnell holds a substantial financial advantage so far, having raised $11.2 million since 2015 — including more than $3 million in the second quarter — and he has nearly $8 million in cash on hand. 

Her nascent campaign was damaged by a flip flop on whether she would have voted to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. She said in and interview with the Courier Journal earlier this month that she would have voted to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was accused of sexual assault by more than one woman, only to reverse course hours later.

“I think that with Judge Kavanaugh, yeah, I probably would have voted for him,” McGrath told the Courier Journal.

However, after outrage from liberals who opposed the confirmation of the conservative justice, McGrath changed her answer.

McGrath tweeted hours later, “I was asked earlier today about Judge Brett Kavanaugh and I answered based upon his qualifications to be on the Supreme Court. But upon further reflection and further understanding of his record, I would have voted no.”

McConnell is deeply unpopular in the state. According to the survey research company Morning Consult, McConnell is the most unpopular senator in the country, with a net unfavorability rating of 50% in his home state. McConnell, who has been in office since 1985, is viewed by many in Kentucky to be a wholly political creature, a product of the “swamp” in Washington that Mr. Trump has promised to drain.

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