It was before the coronavirus pandemic exposed the nation’s deep racial health inequities. It was before George Floyd, a black man, died under a white police officer’s knee, sparking protests nationwide over police brutality and racial injustice. And it was before a little-known state representative named Charles Booker seized the moment of national reflection and upended the Kentucky Democratic primary.
McGrath, 45, had been courted by national Democrats to run, raised more than $41 million and has more cash in her campaign account than McConnell, with Republicans already targeting her with attack ads. Now she finds herself immersed in a heated and competitive race, with the primary Tuesday.
Booker, a 35-year-old African American who grew up poor, sometimes homeless, in urban Louisville, marched with protesters in more than a display of solidarity. He marched for his four cousins who had been murdered, and for Breonna Taylor, 26-year-old medical worker killed by Louisville police executing a no-knock drug warrant. Taylor had no prior drug convictions or arrests, and no drugs were found in her home.
Booker said Taylor, whose death triggered days of protests, was a family friend.
“The trauma is very real and the sense of feeling invisible and feeling like no one hears you and or cares about you is very real, and that’s why you see people take to the streets,” Booker said in an interview.
The endorsements came swiftly. First from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). Then both of the states’ major newspapers. This week Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who a year ago had tweeted, “Go Amy!” when McGrath entered the race, publicly endorsed Booker.
The Holy Grail of political upsets for Democrats would be unseating McConnell, 78, who is seeking his seventh term. The Republican leader relishes the moniker of “grim reaper” for blocking legislation passed in the Democratic-led House, hardly ever challenges President Trump and has ensured confirmation of 199 of the president’s judicial nominees in remaking the courts for years….