Who Will Win Kentucky’s Senate Seat?

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and retired U.S. Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath battle to represent the Commonwealth in D.C.

Every voting American has a big decision to make on November 3—but the Kentuckians among us must decide whether to keep Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell (currently majority leader, the most powerful position in the Senate) or replace him with Amy McGrath, a retired U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant colonel running on an “anti-corruption,” “anti-B.S.,” and “anti-obstruction” platform.

Illustration by Paul Tong


Mitch McConnell

Political experience: McConnell has held his Senate seat since 1985 and has been majority leader since 2015. Before becoming a congressman, McConnell served as Jefferson County (home to Louisville) judge/executive from 1977 to 1984.

Work experience: McConnell earned his law degree from the University of Kentucky in 1967. He worked as a U.S. assistant attorney general under President Gerald Ford.

Background: McConnell was born in Sheffield, Alabama, in 1942 and moved to Louisville with his family at 13, where he graduated from one of the city’s most acclaimed high schools, then earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Louisville. McConnell spent five weeks enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves before being honorably discharged for optic neuritis, which rendered him medically unfit for service.

Mitch McConnell Makes His Case

“My position in the Senate is critical to ensure Washington works for Kentucky. Of the four Congressional leaders, I’m the only one not from New York or California and the only one in the room looking out for Kentucky’s interests and shaping policies to ensure they benefit Kentucky. A good example of Kentucky’s influence is the CARES Act, which was authored in my office in March. This rescue package delivered more than $12 billion to our hospitals, schools, communities, workers, and small businesses. And now I’m fighting for more with a brand new package. But my opponent’s first vote in the Senate would be to make Chuck Schumer of New York the majority leader, a dramatic loss of influence for our state.

“Our nation is at a crucial junction, and the American people have a choice about our path. Does our nation choose to follow Nancy Pelosi and Washington Democrats towards socialism? The other choice is expanding freedom, creating jobs, and upholding our conservative values. That’s the path I hope Americans choose this year. My career has focused on advancing Kentucky’s interests in the Senate, and I will never stop delivering for all Kentuckians.”


Amy McGrath

Political experience: After 20 years of active service in the U.S. Marine Corps, McGrath served as a congressional fellow advising a senior member of the U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee on defense and foreign policy. She also served as Marine Corps liaison to the State Department and other federal agencies. McGrath ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018 but lost to Republican Andy Barr.

Work experience: McGrath served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1997 to 2017, reaching the rank of lieutenant colonel. She became the first woman in the Marine Corps to fly a combat mission and during her operational career served in five combat deployments, including 89 combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan targeting al-Qaida and the Taliban.

Background: McGrath grew up in Edgewood. Her father was a high school English teacher and her mother was a pediatrician and psychiatrist, one of the first women to graduate from the University of Kentucky medical school. McGrath earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the United States Naval Academy in 1997, a graduate certificate in legislative studies from Georgetown University in 2011, and a master’s degree in international and global security studies from Johns Hopkins University in 2014.

Amy McGrath Makes Her Case

“Have things gotten better for Kentucky during Mitch McConnell’s 35 years in Washington? We have an opportunity to take back Kentucky and build it back up in such a way that we come out of this crisis stronger. To do that, we need leaders who are not part of the D.C. establishment and bought off by special interests. McConnell has dedicated his time in office to create the dysfunctional D.C. swamp and has always put his political power and partisanship ahead of Kentucky.

“Imagine if we had a Senator who put working people first, and who did what was right for Kentucky—even if that meant standing up to their own political party. The pandemic crisis has shown that now more than ever we need leaders who are going to fight for affordable health care and stand up to big corporations who take the tax breaks, while leaving workers to fend for themselves. As an officer in the U.S. Marines, I spent over 20 years doing what was right for our country. It didn’t matter whether you were red or blue, what mattered was the mission. That is what I want to bring to the U.S. Senate.”

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