Amy McGrath launches campaign to unseat McConnell

McGrath is following a surprising strategy to appeal to Trump supporters in a state that voted heavily for Trump in 2016.
Updated: Jul. 9, 2019 at 7:45 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Former Democratic congressional candidate Amy McGrath announced she is back on the campaign trail, this time to unseat ranking Republican and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

McGrath is following a surprising strategy to appeal to Trump supporters in a state that voted heavily for Trump in 2016.

McGrath blames the failure of Trump promises, including more jobs and lower prescription costs, on McConnell.

“Who stops the president from doing these things? Well, Mitch McConnell,” McGrath told MSNBC on Tuesday morning. “And I think that’s really important and that’s going to be my message that the things Kentuckians voted for Trump for are not being done. He’s not able to get it done because of Senator McConnell.”

McGrath appears to be planning to exploit McConnell’s low approval ratings.

Recent polls listed on Real Clear Politics show McConnell with an average unfavorable rating exceeding 46 percent, compared to a favorable rating of just 25 percent.

“This is a referendum on him (McConnell) and his leadership style,” Kentucky Senate Minority Leader Morgan McGarvey (D-Louisville) said. “I think she (McGrath) has to keep that theme focused.”

McGrath came close to upsetting Republican Andy Barr in the state’s 6th Congressional District in 2018. She gained national notoriety after losing the race.

But a statewide race in a conservative state brings new challenges.

“It’s really difficult for a candidate who couldn’t win in the second-most-liberal district in Kentucky to take that message statewide where voters are considerably more conservative,” Republican strategist Les Fugate said.

McGrath hit the internet early Tuesday morning with a video describing how she once wrote to McConnell describing her hope to fly fighter jets in combat.

She said McConnell never responded.

“I’ve often wondered how many other people did Mitch McConnell never take the time to write back?” McGrath said in the video.

Her candidacy was no surprise to McConnell's re-election campaign, which responded quickly with an attack website and its own video.

No other candidates have officially entered the race yet.

The negative messages coming from both McGrath and McConnell so far indicate it will be a hard-hitting campaign.

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