Speed Reads

kentucky showdown

Charles Booker wins big endorsements in Democratic race to challenge Mitch McConnell

Kentucky's Senate race may not come down to a McConnell vs. McGrath showdown.

Retired Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath has been seen as the presumptive Democratic challenger to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) this fall, and limited polling has indicated their matchup would be a tight one. But another Democrat, former Marine and Kentucky state Rep. Charles Booker, has secured several new endorsements that could push his candidacy to the top.

Most notably, Booker led Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) list of congressional primary endorsements on Tuesday. Sanders has typically avoided endorsing primary challengers, but recognized Booker as supporting "progressive policies such as criminal justice reform, Medicare-for-all and getting big money out of politics." Sanders also recognizing Booker for "showing up on the frontlines" as Kentuckians protested the police killings of Breonna Taylor and David McAtee in Louisville.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y) also gave Booker her endorsement on Tuesday. And just minutes later, the Lexington Herald Leader's editorial board issued its endorsement for Booker over McGrath in the Democratic primary. Booker, McGrath, and another Democrat Mike Broihier are "qualified and ready to serve," but only Booker will bring "bold and brave ideas" to the Senate, the editorial board said.

Booker rolled out his first TV ad just a few days ago, calling McGrath a "pro-Trump Democrat." Kentucky's primary is on June 23.