Kentucky Rep. Charles Booker Announces Potential U.S. Senate Bid To Challenge McConnell

Nov 12, 2019
Originally published on November 11, 2019 2:39 pm


Kentucky state representative Charles Booker says he is exploring a run for U.S. Senate in 2020, potentially challenging Democrats Amy McGrath and Mike Broihier in the primary in hopes of taking on incumbent Republican Mitch McConnell next November. Booker announced the formation of his exploratory committee by video on Monday.

Booker, 35, is a liberal legislator and lawyer from Louisville who was elected to his first term last year. He serves on the Natural Resources and Energy, Judiciary, and Economic Development and Workforce Investment committees. Booker is a member of the Louisville Metropolitan and Kentucky Black Legislative caucuses.

McConnell, the longtime senator and now Senate majority leader, has never lost a Senate race. First elected in 1984, he has over time consolidated his power, a fact conservative supporters love and opponents lament.

He is also the subject of Booker’s campaign announcement video.

“He doesn’t need hope or faith. He’s got money and power,” Booker says, of McConnell. “And the more power he’s winning Washington, the more we lose in Kentucky.”


Forming an exploratory committee allows candidates to raise money to pay for polling and other campaign expenses while deciding whether to officially run.

In the video, Booker criticizes McConnell’s polices, through explicit references and allusions to climate change, gun violence and health care. He calls for a Green New Deal and for Medicare for All.

His support for those policies puts him to the left of McGrath, a retired Marine fighter pilot who narrowly lost a challenge to incumbent U.S. Rep. Andy Barr.

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

Radio host Matt Jones has also formed an exploratory committee, but has not decided whether to officially run.

Former Republican state Rep. Wesley Morgan is the lone Republican who has filed to challenge McConnell in next year’s primary election.

The primary election is May 19, 2020.

Booker did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Copyright 2019 WKU Public Radio. To see more, visit WKU Public Radio.