Amy McGrath, a former fighter pilot who garnered headlines during her ultimately failed 2018 bid for Congress against Republican Andy Barr, announced Tuesday that she will now take on Mitch McConnell in the Senate in 2020.
In a three-minute video, McGrath says McConnell has "bit by bit, year by year, turned Washington into something we all despise."
"I'm running for Senate because it shouldn't be like this," she says.
In the video, the Northern Kentucky native talks about how at age 13, she wrote a letter to McConnell saying women should be allowed to fly fighter jets in combat. "He never wrote back," she says. "...I've often wondered, how many other people did Mitch McConnell never take the time to write back?"
In an interview Tuesday on MSNBC's Morning Joe, McGrath positioned herself as a moderate, saying she watched the recent Democratic presidential debates and was concerned too many candidates were positioning themselves too far left.
McGrath's candidacy is significant for Democrats, political watchers say. She mounted a strong fundraising campaign in 2018, and lost to Barr by just 3 percentage points in the 2018 midterm elections. President Donald Trump won Kentucky by nearly 30 points in 2016, and the state has not elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1992.
Even McGrath admits that McConnell is a "formidable" opponent who has been elected to the Senate for more than three decades. But "this is a different race," she told Morning Joe.
McConnell's campaign responded to McGrath's announcement on Twitter with a video that showed her supporting liberal positions on issues like universal health care, abortion and immigration. It was accompanied by one simple line of text: "Welcome to the race, Amy."
— Team Mitch (@Team_Mitch) July 9, 2019