Senatre Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s re-election campaign is anything but a sure thing.
Polls have him running in a dead heat — or even trailing — the Democratic Party’s preferred Senate candidate, Amy McGrath. A recent RMG Group poll had McGrath at 41 percent of voters, while McConnell trailed at 40 percent in the Kentucky senate race.
Faced with a tight election battle, McConnell suddenly received help from two unlikely sources on Tuesday: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-V.T.
The two icons from the far-left didn’t endorsed McConnell, of course.
But they’ve rushed to help McGrath’s primary opponent, the far-left progressive state Rep. Charles Booker.
Over the past year, McGrath had raised a substantial campaign war chest with the help of national Democratic leaders. Her campaign was almost completely focused on the upcoming head-to-head against McConnell.
She looked like she had a real chance to upset McConnell.
And suddenly, after two endorsements by Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders, McGrath and her resources have been drawn into a bitter primary battle with a far-left progressive — a primary fight she and her campaign had considered wrapped up just last week.
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“Charles is a member of the Kentucky House of Representatives and has picked up a lot of momentum in recent weeks. As Louisville has become an epicenter of national tragedy and protests due to the police murders of Breonna Taylor and David McAtee, Charles has shown leadership by showing up on the frontlines,” Sanders wrote. “He was an endorser of our campaign for president and supports progressive policies such as criminal justice reform, Medicare for All, and getting big money out of politics.”
The former Democratic presidential frontrunner told his millions of supporters that McGrath was not “real change” from McConnell. She’s been referred to as a “Trump Democrat” — someone that’s potentially electable in deeply conservative Kentucky.
A far-left socialist candidate is almost certainly not going to unseat McConnell, experts say.
That didn’t stop Sanders from throwing the Democratic primary into chaos Tuesday.
“One of the ways we must continue building that movement is by electing progressives at all levels of government,” Sanders said. “Because the truth is, real change never happens from the top on down. It happens from the bottom on up.”
Media darling and far-left leader Ocasio-Cortez endorsed Booker on Tuesday as well —
Charles Booker (@Booker4KY) is running for Senate & building the kind of principled, inclusive, and winning coalition in Kentucky that can inspire positive change.
The US Senate will be a better place with him in it. I’m proud to endorse him.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 9, 2020
And even if Booker doesn’t get the nomination, McGrath can’t afford a bitter Democratic primary fight.
A contested primary is sure to weaken McGrath heading towards a potential showdown with McConnell… an election where McGrath would need all the pieces to fall perfectly into place if she hopes to win.
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In other words, in the face of a close election, McConnell’s political career may have been saved Tuesday by the most unlikely of allies — Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders.
The Horn editorial team