What We’re Up Against in Kentucky and How You Can Help

Following my previous article on this race, I decided I needed to further explain what’s at stake and how you can help. Charles Booker has a unique opportunity to defeat a candidate that has explicitly said she’d support President Trump’s agenda. Our participation and activation is the only way he’ll win.

McGrath’s Fundraising in Context

At the pre-primary filing deadline, Amy McGrath had raised $41,139,111. That is absurd, if you were curious. Here’s a graph of Amy McGrath’s pre-primary fundraising compared to these senators’ fundraising for their entire election cycle in years past.

Amy McGrath’s fundraising is unprecedented. The majority of it is from small dollar donations of less than $200, but only a small fraction comes from inside Kentucky. The only candidates to out raise McGrath (including their general) are Hillary Clinton in 2006 and Beto O’Rourke in 2018. O’Rourke’s meteoric rise to fame came after his primary and Hillary Clinton is…Hillary Clinton. McGrath is the strongest primary fundraiser ever outside of Clinton’s run in 2006 and we have a real opportunity to beat her. That, alone, is amazing.

One last note on fundraising: McGrath was able to hire a huge team of organizers, consultants, pollsters, media managers, and fundraisers. On the popular job hunting site for political workers, JobsthatareLEFT, McGrath has posted 63 times, as opposed to Booker’s 2. Amy McGrath can hire as many people as she wants to knock doors; it’s up to us to match that.

Challenges We Must Overcome

In a move that complicates Booker’s last minute momentum, the Commonwealth has decided to cut 95% of polling locations. If you thought to yourself, “surely, this cannot stand. No court would allow this!” Well, you’re wrong. This guy, U.S. District Court Judge Charles Simpson, was appointed by Ronald Reagan and has been suppressing the vote ever since. He decided that only having one polling station in Jefferson County was fair; for that reason, the rurals have become more important. In those small counties, long lines won’t be as big a problem. Booker will need a better night in those rural areas if he’s to get over the finish line.

It’s also important to remember that Booker caught fire after mail-in voting started. Even in the poll that had Booker ahead, he was down to McGrath by 50 points with people who had already voted. The mail-in ballots could break negatively for Booker so an early lead is not destiny on Election Night.

Kentucky is also a state dealing with general voter suppression. Following Matt Bevin’s defeat, the Republicans in Kentucky are ramping up efforts to suppress the vote. The article I have linked here does a great job of explaining some of those measures and who they affect.

What Can You Do About It

It’s clear that we’re up against a lot. Charles Booker is going to need our help these last two days to get out the vote. Knock doors, make phone calls, or get involved with Sunrise because this is going to be close. It’s not a typical race, a typical candidate, or a typical time in our country. Are we going to stand with the person who says she hasn’t been going to protests or are we going to fight back and change Kentucky? This race isn’t just about beating Mitch McConnell. It’s about, well, I’ll let Charles take it from here. Let’s win this thing.



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I analyze and project congressional and senate races with progressives in them.