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'I'm humbled.' Amy McGrath defeats Charles Booker in Kentucky primary

Democratic senate candidate, retired Marine Amy McGrath will face incumbent Mitch McConnell in November.

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Associated Press has declared Amy McGrath winner in Kentucky Senate Primary race. 

Democrat Amy McGrath will face incumbent Mitch McConnell in the race for Kentucky's seat in the U.S. Senate this November.

The retired Kentucky fighter pilot defeated state Rep. Charles Booker in a closely-watched Democratic primary for U.S. Senate. While Booker won in larger counties like Fayette and Jefferson, he didn't win by a large enough margin to overcome McGrath.

The full, unofficial results of the 2020 Kentucky Primary can be found here.

Statement by U.S. Senate Candidate Amy McGrath on Primary Victory

"I'm humbled that Kentucky Democrats have nominated me to take on Mitch McConnell in the general election and can't wait to get started in sending him into retirement and finally draining the toxic Washington political swamp that he built.

I want to congratulate Charles Booker for his very impressive result, and also to Mike Broihier for stepping into this arena and making his passionate voice and ideas heard. I am proud to have competed against these men and, undoubtedly, doing so made me a better candidate. I hope I can rely on them for their help, guidance and advice for the fight ahead of us.

There is no doubt that Charles tapped into and amplified the energy and anger of so many who are fed-up with the status quo and are rightfully demanding long overdue action and accountability from our government and institutions. Sadly, our system is broken. We need to elect people who will have the courage to meaningfully tackle the socio-economic, legal and educational inequities that continue to prevent true equality in our country.

And I commend Mike, who has served his country and his commonwealth in so many ways—as a Marine, a farmer, a teacher and a candidate who was dedicated to representing each and every Kentuckian.  

I am proud to have been in this race with these candidates. I look forward to seeking their help, guidance and advice for the bigger fight ahead of us.

While each of our experiences are unique, as a woman in the military, I had to repeatedly fight the establishment during my 20-year career. No one needs to convince me of the urgency to address the issues of equal pay and equal justice, affordable health care for all, real action on voting rights, and ending the corrosive grip that corporate special interests have on our federal government.

But there can be no removal of Mitch McConnell without unity. We must unify our Democratic family to make that happen, including those who didn't vote for me in the primary, and I intend, immediately, to start the dialogue necessary to bring us all together in our common cause for the general election. There is far too much at stake. The differences that separate Democrats are nothing compared to the chasm that exists between us and the politics and actions of Mitch McConnell. He's destroyed our institutions for far too long.

A year after showing the country that Kentucky won't hesitate to replace an incompetent and unpopular incumbent Republican like Matt Bevin, let's do it one more time." – Retired U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Amy McGrath."

Late Tuesday, Charles Booker conceded the race. 

Credit: WHAS11 News

The state representative said while he was disappointed in the outcome, he was proud of Kentuckians who came together to demand a better future.

RELATED: 'While I'm disappointed, I'm so proud of us': State Rep. Charles Booker concedes high-profile Kentucky Democratic Senate primary

More results here

In the week since the election, both Booker and McGrath have led in votes, with a majority of counties withholding absentee ballots until Tuesday morning. According to Secretary of State Michael Adams, about 85% of the primary vote came from absentee ballots. Many opted to vote absentee because of concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

While Adams said the voting process went off "without a hitch" on June 23, many absentee votes were not counted because they were not signed properly or came in past the deadline.

In Jefferson County, both the Booker and McGrath campaigns filed injunctions to keep polls open until 9 p.m. due to long lines of traffic outside the Kentucky Expo Center, the only polling location in Jefferson County. While the doors were open for an additional 30 minutes past the 6 p.m. deadline, the longer extension was denied.

Who is Amy McGrath?

Amy McGrath is a retired US Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel raised in Kentucky. According to her website, she flew 89 combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, targeting al-Qaida and the Taliban, before retiring and moving back home to Kentucky to raise her family.

McGrath garnered national attention during her run for 6th District Congressional in 2017, where she lost to Republican incumbent Andy Barr.

All of the election results from the 2020 Kentucky Primary will be posted here.

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