Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has himself one tough challenger for his 2020 re-election campaign. On Tuesday, Amy McGrath, a retired Marine fighter pilot unveiled her campaign.
McGrath announced her campaign with a video. In the video, McGrath recalls writing a letter to her senator when she was only 13-years-old. She shared her dream of becoming a pilot and the challenges that women faced with being denied the opportunity to join the U.S. military.
“He never wrote back,” McGrath states in the video. “I’ve often wondered how many other people did Mitch McConnell never take the time to write back or even think about.”
McGrath, who is a Democrat, featured fellow Kentuckians who felt passed over by Mitch McConnel’s conservative policies as well in her 3-minute video. She states that McConnell has effectively turned Washington into “a place where ideals go to die.”
“Everything that’s wrong in Washington had to start someplace. How did it come to this, that even within our own families we can’t talk to each other about the leaders of our country anymore without anger and blame? Well, that started with this man, who was elected a lifetime ago,” McGrath said of McConnell.
McGrath is a former U.S. Marine Corps, Lieutenant Colonel. She graduated from the Naval Academy and went on to become the first woman in the Marine Corps to fly a combat mission in an F-18 fighter jet. She served 20 years in the Marines and flew 89 combat missions in Afghanistan and Iraq that targeted the al Queda and the Taliban. She retired from the marines and moved back home to Kentucky to raise her family.
McConnel has been in the Senate for over 30 years and has been the majority leader since 2015. In 2014, McConnel had a strong challenger in Alison Lundergan Grimes a Democrat. McConnel pulled out a win with 56% of the votes.
Back in April, McConnel announced his 2020 re-election campaign. He brags about his “deep ties” to Trump, as well as the confirmation of two Supreme Court Justices.
Kevin Golden, McConnel’s campaign manager referred to McGrath as an “extreme liberal who is far out of touch with Kentuckians.”
“Comparing President Trump’s election to 9/11, endorsing a government takeover of healthcare, and calling the wall ‘stupid’ is a heckuva platform that we will be delighted to discuss over the next sixteen months,” Golden said in a statement to CBS News.
McGrath’s campaign slogan is “anti-corruption, anti-obstruction, anti-BS.” She narrowly lost a House race in the state in 2018. Jesse Hunt of the National Republican Senatorial Committee said in a statement that McGrath “blew” the largely suburban Kentucky House race “despite spending huge amounts of money.”
“Statewide in 2020 against McConnell will be infinitely more difficult,” Hunt added.
Many 2020 Democratic presidential candidates have been asked how they will combat McConnel and his strong impact on Congress.
“We have to win the Senate,” said former Congressman John Delaney at a recent campaign stop in Iowa.
“The best way to put him in his place is by winning the Senate,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
“At the debates last month, the candidates were asked how we’d deal with Mitch McConnell if we’re elected president. Here’s one solution: We replace him,” said Kristen Gillibrand.
McConnell may also be challenged by radio show host Matt Jones and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer but neither has confirmed the rumors that they are indeed running.