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Politics

State Rep. Charles Booker Enters Senate Race Against McConnell

Kentucky state Sen. Charles Booker is officially entering Kentucky's 2020 U.S. Senate race.
Credit Lisa Gillespie
Kentucky state Sen. Charles Booker is officially entering Kentucky's 2020 U.S. Senate race.

Another Democrat has entered the race to challenge Senator Mitch McConnell for his seat in Congress.

Kentucky State Representative Charles Booker announced his Senate run on Sunday in Louisville. He was elected to his first term last year. In his speech he mentioned McConnell and gave a nod to the other Democratic challenger Amy McGrath, who’s raised a lot of money in the race.

 “Money doesn’t vote, people do; So sure [McConnell] has a lot of money, sure his big corporate buddies he sold out to will flood this campaign, but we have power in the people, and there’s a lot of people all over this country that know if we get rid of Mitch McConnell, we’re gonna be doing the whole world a solid,” Booker said. “Anybody that thinks you’re going to out-raise him is not being serious about beating him. This is not about how much money you spend. It’s about the work you put on the ground.”

Booker’s work has mainly been centered in Louisville. He previously served asdirector of strategic partnerships for a Louisville nonprofit, and as an education and equity policy analyst at the Louisville Urban League.

Booker made the announcement at event venue Manhattan on Broadway in Louisville on Sunday afternoon. He talked about several policy issues, including environmental justice, Medicare For All, the Green New Deal and gun violence.

Booker hasn’t specified which version of universal health care system Medicare for All he’d go for; there are several different versions in Congress. But he made it clear no one should go without needed care or medicine. 

“I live in one of the poorest ZIP codes in Kentucky; We need to make sure that the wealthiest few are paying their fair share, and there are plenty of ways to do that,” Booker said. “We know it, it’s there, we just have to fight for it. The reality is, making sure that no one dies because they don’t have enough money in their pocket should be something we should all agree on and figure it out.”

Booker lives in Louisville’s Russell neighborhood, where the median household income is around$20,400, according to the Greater Louisville Project. During his speech Sunday he mentioned developing Diabetes Type 1 as a child, and his mother making tough choices to buy his medicine in lieu of paying the electric bill. 

State Representative Attica Scott spoke in support of Booker at the event Sunday.

“As someone who loves Kentucky deeply, I am ready for someone who is going to fight for you because he loves you, who’s not going to reject you because of your language,” Scott said. “I am ready for someone who believes that all of us should be counted, including people who are undocumented; someone who used to work at Kentucky jobs with justice; I am ready for someone who is going to stand up and with organized labor.”

His support for some left-leaning  policies differentiates him from Amy McGrath, a retired Marine fighter pilot who narrowly lost a challenge to incumbent U.S. Rep. Andy Barr last year. She’s called herself a moderate.

McConnell, the longtime senator and now Senate Majority Leader, has never lost a Senate race since first elected in 1984. 

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

The primary election is May 19, 2020.

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