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.
Trailing in the vote tally for Kentucky's governorship by about 5,000 votes, incumbent Gov. Matt Bevin decided last week to play what's becoming a familiar card: He questioned the election's legitimacy.
"What we know is that there really are a number of significant irregularities," Bevin said Wednesday in front of the governor's mansion, "the specifics of which we're in the process of getting affidavits [about] — and other information that will help us to get a better understanding of what did or did not happen."
In his successful 2007 gubernatorial run, Steve Beshear lost 28 counties, winning the state’s other 92. He also lost only 28 counties in his winning reelection bid in 2011.
His son Andy Beshear, running in a similar Democrat-but-not-that-left style, won just 23 counties on Tuesday, losing the other 97. Andy Beshear’s path to victory included huge margins in Jefferson and Fayette counties, which combined he won by about 36 percentage points (68-32). But the attorney general lost the rest of the 118 counties to Gov. Matt Bevin by a combined 12 percentage points (44-56).