Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will have a high-profile challenger in 2020, as former Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath has announced she’ll challenge him. McGrath narrowly lost a House race to incumbent Rep. Andy Barr in 2018, but drew national attention with a viral campaign video.
In an announcement video, McGrath tells of writing McConnell a letter when she was 13 years old, saying she wanted to be a fighter pilot. “He never wrote back,” she says. “I’m Amy McGrath, and I’ve often wondered, how many other people did Mitch McConnell never take the time to write back or even think about?” The video goes on to show other people—a second-generation steelworker whose mill was shutting down, a woman with diabetes afraid of losing her health care, a coal miner with black lung disease, a student worried about debt—writing unanswered letters to McConnell.
Then she goes straight for McConnell’s central role in U.S. politics.
“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, it started with this man, who was elected a lifetime ago and who has, bit by bit, year by year, turned Washington into something we all despise. Where dysfunction and chaos are political weapons. Where budgets, and health care, and the Supreme Court are held hostage. A place where ideals go to die. I’m running for Senate because it shouldn’t be like this.”
On MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Tuesday, McGrath tried to appeal to Trump voters by suggesting that McConnell’s role in turning the Senate into a legislative graveyard has blocked some bills that Trump promised, like lowering drug prices. “Who stops them along the way? Who stops the president from doing these things? Mitch McConnell,” McGrath said. “And I think that that’s very important and that’s going to be my message—the things that Kentuckians voted for Trump for are not being done. He’s not able to get it done because of Senator McConnell.”
”Defeat Mitch. Defend democracy,” McGrath’s ad ends.