Progressive Kentucky state Rep. Charles Booker, 35, has pulled ahead of Amy McGrath, a former Marine fighter pilot running against him in the state’s Senate Democratic primary race.
With about 12 percent of the expected vote counted and 12 precincts reporting, Booker leads McGrath 45.1 percent to 40.2 percent — about 3,200 votes. The tally includes in-person votes cast Tuesday, June 24 at the polling stations and is too close to call, NBC News reported.
Hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots have to be counted. They’ll take days to count and will determine who takes on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in November.
The top-ranking congressional Republican, McConnell is seeking a seventh term.
More than 161,237 people voted in person on Tuesday, according to the Kentucky Secretary of State. By Tuesday morning, 530,196 of the 867,842 ballots sent out before Election Day were returned. Ballots must be postmarked by Election Day to count.
Rep. Booker serves in the Kentucky House of Representatives 43rd district, and is its youngest Black state lawmaker.
Ten candidates ran in the Democratic primary. McGrath was backed by several establishment Democrats. Booker got endorsements from Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.
The Republican incumbent, McConnell and his campaign have targeted McGrath in recent months, launching an ad campaign in May that accused her of having a “far-left record” on abortion, the border wall and Trump’s impeachment, Fox News reported.
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Booker entered the race in January and joined protests over police brutality and racism in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor, a Louisville woman who died in her apartment on March 13 by police who entered on a “no-knock” warrant.
Booker is in favor of a Green New Deal to create jobs, Medicare For All and an end to the cycle of generational poverty. He wants to give workers a living wage and the power to fight for more and supports universal basic income.
“I’ve lived the struggle that other politicians just talk about,” Booker said on his website. “For too long, we have been lied to, robbed, and exploited. Demeaned and disrespected. We’ve been shut out of the decision-making process and our voices drowned out by the wealthy and well connected. We’re sick of the corruption. We’re sick of the politicians who ignore us, and the ones who play political games instead of just telling us the truth.”