Former Kentucky lawmaker Charles Booker has beaten out three challengers to become the Democratic nominee for the state’s U.S. Senate seat. He will face off against Republican incumbent Rand Paul in November and said he is confident about his chances.
“BREAKING: It’s official. I am the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate in Kentucky,” Booker tweeted on Tuesday, May 17. “In November, we will make history by defeating Rand Paul and expanding our Senate majority. Help us start the general election off strong by sharing and chipping in!”
It won’t be an easy feat as Kentucky hasn’t elected a Democrat since 1992 and Paul is running for his third term. But Booker, 38, said he has a strategy to lead them to victory.
“We’re actually going to lean in,” Charles Booker told Kentucky Educational Television. “This is not a time to be moderate. You cannot moderately put a fire out. We’re going to be bold in fighting for Kentucky, and the results are going to show that is how you win.”
Booker said he plans to win by engaging communities that don’t typically vote — “communities that have been Republican for a long time but really just because Democrats don’t go and (give) our folks a reason to turn out.”
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This is Booker’s second time running for the senate seat. He narrowly lost his first run to Amy McGrath – whom The Associated Press described as “an establishment-backed rival who was routed by Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell in the general election.”
McGrath was pummeled by Paul in the general election, but Booker supporters believe he has a better chance of beating his opponent.
“Charles, huge #Congratulations! I sit here with Hope for #Kentucky. We all deserve a man of Integrity. Fortitude. Honor. I shook your hand. I felt who you are. I have donated to you multiple times,” Twitter user @dbiggs0001 tweeted. “I BELIEVE you can take on Rand. This State & our beautiful Nation await you.”
“CONGRATULATIONS!!!! Now go after Rand with everything you got & earn his seat! We know he has done nothing for #Kentucky which is among the bottom 5 states in almost EVERY measurable quality-of-life variable,” @lfishgirl67 wrote. “10 out of the 25 poorest counties in the ENTIRE US are in Kentucky.”
Policy-wise, Booker and Paul are complete opposites. Paul voted against the anti-lynching bill, the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, the Women’s Health Protection Act and more.
Booker, however, is running on a progressive platform under the theme “From The Hood to the Holler.” He advocates for policies such as Medicare For All, basic universal income, and those that work to accomplish racial and economic justice.
To help achieve the latter, Booker is a proponent of reparations. On Feb. 1 at the start of Black History Month, Booker tweeted, “Reparations. That’s the tweet.”
It wasn’t the first time Booker had come out in support of reparations. He also voiced his support for a reparations policy in a tweet in December 2020. “Reparations + UBI + M4A + GND = the end of generational poverty,” Booker tweeted.
When it comes to his opponent, Booker said he believes Paul is out of touch with the average Kentuckian’s needs.
“He’s an eye doctor but he doesn’t see us,” Paul told AP. “He treats Kentucky as his own step-stool as he’s climbing his way to cozy up with his wealthy friends and these big corporations that are exploiting us. … Whenever we need leadership, he is never there. And when he does open his mouth to talk … he’s embarrassing us.”
PHOTO: Democrat Charles Booker speaks to supporters following his victory in the Kentucky primary in Louisville, Ky., May 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)