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Booker gains momentum, McGrath remains top fundraiser

Updated: Jun. 9, 2020 at 7:46 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Ahead of the Kentucky Primary election, political ads are on television once again as candidates hope to take U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell’s seat in the fall.

Over the airwaves, Amy McGrath has been a lone democratic voice, consistently running a number of spots since as early as 2019.

But that is now changing.

Democratic Rep. Charles Booker of Louisville has gained momentum by launching his first TV ad Tuesday and receiving some high profile endorsements. He has recently been interviewed on national television programs and is visible in local news coverage of protests in the region.

On June 23, Booker will be on the Kentucky Primary ballot along with McGrath and eight other democratic candidates.

Google Trends show Booker, who many people are just learning about, has recently passed McGrath in searches in Kentucky.

McGrath still leads nationally.

Google trends only quantify what people are searching for. They're not necessarily predictive of political outcomes.

Booker has also recently received endorsements from Kentucky Sports Radio host Matt Jones, Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

More recognition sometimes means more money. An official from his campaign said Booker raised $700,000 in the first eight days of June.

Tuesday, Booker used a little over half of that to run his first statewide TV ad. His campaign calls the string of endorsements and ad buys “mounting good news” for the candidate.

In his new ad, Booker, like his democratic opponent, criticized Sen. McConnell, but he also called out McGrath.

"Kentucky needs a real Democrat to take on Mitch McConnell," Booker states in the ad. "Someone who will fight to guarantee healthcare, living wages for all, and not help Trump just get his way."

Tuesday, McGrath was still running ads not defending herself for being aligned with the president, but opponents claiming the opposite.

"Mitch McConnell wants you to believe that I'm farther left than anyone in Kentucky, but that's ridiculous," McGrath states in the ad.

While Booker launches his first television advertisement, McGrath has has been running a number of them since as early as 2019.

Federal Election Commission data through the end of March shows McGrath has a big fundraising lead with around $29 million dollars in total contributions.

The same data for Booker, although not accounting for the most recent months and over a smaller period of time, shows he had posted around $316,000 is raised funds through the end of March.

Up against McConnell, a member of Senate leadership, both McGrath and Booker received a number of donations from people outside of Kentucky.

Right now, there are not a lot of polls predictive of this Kentucky Primary Election.

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