A Big Night For Team Mitch Turns Into A Morning Of Uncertainty For Kentucky Democrats

Senator Mitch McConnell’s sweeping primary victory stands in stark contrast to the disarray for Kentucky Democrats. Despite spending more than $23 million and being labeled as the front-runner, Amy McGrath last night failed to shore up her party’s nomination, amplifying the uncertainty that she has what it takes to take on the rock-ribbed Kentucky leader Senator McConnell.

Here’s what they’re saying about Senator McConnell’s big primary victory and Amy McGrath’s abject disaster of a campaign:

AP: Mitch McConnell wins GOP nomination in bid for 7th term

Associated Press: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell cruised to the Republican nomination Tuesday night in pursuit of a seventh term, but his general election challenger might not be known for days [….]”

The Hill: “McConnell easily dispatched a crowded field of Republicans challenging him for the nomination, leading with 87 percent of the vote[…]”

New York Times: “Whoever wins the Senate primary in Kentucky will face an uphill fight against Mr. McConnell”

CNN’s Jeff Zeleny: “One thing is clear — Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate Majority Leader, he of course won handily last night. He is trying to win his seventh seat. What he doesn’t know this morning is who he’ll be running against.”

McGrath’s Uninspired Message Makes Democratic Results Far From Certain

Associated Press: “‘I haven’t seen Amy say anything that was really inspiring,’ Stanley said by telephone after voting Tuesday.”

The Courier-Journal’s Phillip Bailey: “.@AmyMcGrathKY’s statement certainly doesn’t sound… energized.”

New York Times: “Lots Of Drama But Little Certainty In Kentucky”

Louisville Courier Journal: “The Democratic race to determine who will win the party’s nomination and run against McConnell in the fall is a much closer contest than the GOP primary.”

Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman: “If I were Amy McGrath (D), I wouldn’t be overly optimistic about sitting on an ~8% lead w/ potentially only 12%-15% of the vote counted and none of Louisville/Lexington reporting yet. #KYSEN”

Newsweek: “McGrath was presumed to be a shoo-in for the Democratic nomination since she launched her campaign in July 2019 […] But Booker’s last-minute surge has complicated her path to unseating McConnell.”

Politico: “[…] the state shattered its previous turnout for a primary, and the large-scale use of absentee voting, combined with Booker’s late momentum, has most Democrats acknowledging a sense of uncertainty about a possible upset.”

Washington Post: “McGrath was leading Booker 45 percent to 36 with 51 percent of precincts reporting, but the results did not include Jefferson County, which includes Louisville, where Booker is expected to perform best.”

The Intercept: “As the night ended, McGrath held a slight lead of several thousand votes, but Jefferson and Fayette counties — constituting Louisville and Lexington, respectively — are expected to go heavily for Booker.”

Money Poured To McGrath’s Campaign But She Failed To Route Her Opponents

Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman: “If McGrath loses to Booker, as looks very possible in the early going, she’ll be the latest proof of the old axiom: ‘some candidates have problems $$ can’t solve.’”

National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar: “Imagine all those national Democratic donors who poured money on a not-ready-for-primetime candidate in *Kentucky* (McGrath) instead of the numerous battleground Senate races that will actually make up the majority.”

Politico: “Senate hopefuls Charles Booker and Amy McGrath are locked in a tight battle for that Kentucky Senate nomination that belies McGrath’s huge cash advantage and support from Washington powerbrokers.”

Washington Post: “A race that was supposed to be a sure thing for McGrath, who had raised $41 million to take on McConnell, became immensely competitive in the final weeks. While Booker seized a moment tailor-made for his message, McGrath stumbled and struggled to explain why it took her weeks to show up at one of the protests.”

Cook Political Report’s Jessica Taylor: “McGrath’s $16.4M spent is twice as much as any Senate primary candidate nationwide.”

McGrath’s Gaffes Made Room In The Race For Progressive Favorite Charles Booker

Lexington Herald-Leader: “Charles Booker led Amy McGrath by 49 percentage points among Fayette County voters who cast their ballot in person Tuesday […] Booker won 72 percent of the in-person vote in Lexington, with 1,566 votes. McGrath won 23 percent of the vote, with 499 votes.”

Washington Examiner: “Charles Booker could emerge as Democratic nominee to Mitch McConnell after last-minute primary surge”

Washington Examiner: “[…] his bid received an injection of momentum thanks to endorsements from Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, as well as New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. They all touted [Booker’s] support of sweeping reforms, such as the ‘Green New Deal’ and ‘Medicare for All’”

Newsweek: “Booker, a progressive, started to gain momentum amid a growing racial-justice movement in Kentucky following the police shootings of two black residents. The momentum was buoyed by a wave of endorsements from Senator Bernie Sanders, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and two of Kentucky’s highest-circulation newspapers.”

CBS News: “[Booker’s] new endorsements follow others by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Senator Bernie Sanders, and the Louisville Courier-Journal.”

Politico: “But Booker has charged late, driven by endorsements from national progressives like Bernie Sanders […]”

NBC News: “[McGrath] had to dip into that money for ads to fight off a late surge from Booker, who supports ‘Medicare for All,’ the Green New Deal and universal basic income and campaigned against inequality and racial injustice.”