Amy McGrath Defeats Charles Booker and Will Face McConnell in Kentucky

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WASHINGTON — Amy McGrath, a former Marine fighter pilot who built a formidable campaign war chest, emerged Tuesday as the Democratic nominee to take on Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, fending off a challenge from the left that highlighted the party’s ideological divisions.

One week after the primary was conducted, The Associated Press declared Ms. McGrath the winner after a campaign that was shaped by the coronavirus pandemic and protests against racial injustice. She narrowly defeated Charles Booker, an African-American state lawmaker who harnessed anger over a pair of fatal shootings by the authorities in Louisville to roar into contention in the final weeks of the campaign.

Ms. McGrath, though, had raised over $40 million by the start of June and built up a sizable advantage even before Primary Day because many voters cast absentee ballots to avoid the polls and the risk of contracting the coronavirus. She was also helped by the presence of a number of other Democrats on the ballot, including another progressive who garnered about 5 percent of the vote.

But Mr. Booker’s late surge in what had been a relatively tranquil nominating contest was another illustration of progressive momentum in the Democratic Party, as outrage over racial injustice amplifies the calls for transformative change. An unabashed progressive, Mr. Booker ran on “Medicare for all” and the Green New Deal.

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