State Rep. Charles Booker (D-Louisville), who lost a 45-43% Democratic Senate primary bid to retired Marine Corps helicopter pilot Amy McGrath earlier in the year, is apparently not closing the door on potentially entering the 2022 Senate field to challenge Sen. Rand Paul (R). He recently told political news reporters to “stay tuned,” with regard to his future statewide electoral plans.
At this point, only three states saw incumbent Senators being defeated: Doug Jones (D-AL), Martha McSally (R-AZ), and Cory Gardner (R-CO). Under Georgia law, since both of their Senate races, the regular cycle campaign and the special election, failed to produce a majority winner, a runoff election will be held for each position on January 5th.
In races of note, Maine Sen. Susan Collins (R) defied pollsters projecting a Democratic victory for state House Speaker Sara Gideon (D) and won by nine percentage points. Despite over $100 million being spent against both Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), both were re-elected with victory percentages exceeding 58 and 54%, respectively. Democratic Sen. Gary Peters (MI) scored a close win over GOP challenger John James; Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Steve Daines (R-MT) recorded strong victories despite polling suggesting that both could lose.
In the four open seat campaigns, the incumbent party won each. The new Senators are Roger Marshall (R-KS), Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY).
Two races, in addition to both Georgia Senate seats going to runoffs, remain uncalled but with a clear trend. With only 50% of the votes counted in Alaska, Sen. Dan Sullivan (R) has a strong 62-32% lead. In North Carolina, with the post-election ballot reception period closing on November 12th, Sen. Thom Tillis (R) looks to have a small lead that won’t be surpassed, again despite polling projecting a Democratic victory for party nominee Cal Cunningham.
Assuming the uncalled races remain Republican, the GOP will have a 50-48 advantage heading into the Georgia runoffs, meaning they will retain the majority with a win in at least one of the two Senate races to be decided January 5th.
Kentucky: McConnell Well Up in New Poll
The Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy company tested the Kentucky Senate race between Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) and retired Marine Corps helicopter pilot Amy McGrath (D). Ms. McGrath raised over $84 million through September 30th, the second-most of any candidate in the country behind only South Carolina’s Jaime Harrison (D) who posted $86 million.
The M-D survey (10/12-16; 625 KY registered voters; live interview) finds Sen. McConnell holding a 51-42% lead over Ms. McGrath, which is consistent with earlier polls, though this race has surprisingly not attracted a large amount of attention from the polling community, probably because the race is not particularly close.
Kentucky: A Different Q-Poll
Quinnipiac University also sampled the Kentucky electorate (9/10-14; 1,164 KY likely voters; live interview administered by the RDD firm) and sees a much different result than from their Maine data. In the Bluegrass State race, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) leads retired Marine Corps helicopter pilot Amy McGrath (D), 53-41%, despite the latter raising almost $50 million for the race to date.
Morning Consult Polls: Big & Small
The Morning Consult research firm conducted a series of surveys and finds Republicans building big leads in two key states and falling into close contests in another pair where they should have a strong advantage.
In Kentucky (7/24-8/2; 793 KY likely voters), the MC data finds Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) recording a 53-36% lead over retired Marine Corps helicopter pilot Amy McGrath (D) who has raised a whopping $47 million+ for her campaign. Alabama GOP nominee Tommy Tuberville likewise holds a major Morning Consult detected advantage over Sen. Doug Jones (D). This poll (7/24-8/2; 609 AL likely voters) projects the retired Auburn University head football coach topping the Democratic incumbent, 52-35%, in what is a must-win conversion race for the GOP.
Morning Consult detects close races in two other states that should be much stronger for the respective Republican incumbent. The South Carolina survey conducted over the same period as the others (741 SC likely voters) finds Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) claiming only a one-point, 44-43%, edge over former South Carolina Democratic Party chair Jaime Harrison, while in Texas, Sen. John Cornyn (R) posts only a six-point margin (2,576 TX likely voters from a pre-determined sample cell; online) over Democrat M.J. Hegar, 44-38%.
KY-6: Surprise Poll
After defeating now-US Senate Democratic nominee Amy McGrath by 10,000 votes after she raised and spent more than $8.3 million in 2018, Rep. Andy Barr (R-Lexington) was considered in strong shape for his 2020 re-election bid. A new Bluegrass Data survey (7/13; 700 KY-6 likely general election voters via live telephone interview), however, finds Rep Barr leading Democratic nominee Josh Hicks by a scant 44-43% margin. When pushed for an answer, those recorded as leading to one of the candidates actually forge Mr. Hicks into a 50-48% lead.
The latter man’s fundraising is nothing like Ms. McGrath’s, but is still strong. Since the campaign’s inception, Mr. Hicks has amassed over $1.3 million, about $7 million south of where McGrath ended. This is a budding race to watch.
The Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group, a top Democratic polling firm, tested the post-primary Kentucky general electorate (7/7-12; 800 KY likely general election voters) and found Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) leading new Democratic nominee Amy McGrath, 45-41%. The poll appears to be following the pattern one would expect to see in a McConnell Senate race. The contest begins close as the candidates officially enter the general election, and then turns toward Sen. McConnell in the waning days, which results in him scoring a comfortable win. This same conclusion is likely to happen again in 2020.
Kentucky: Finally, A Winner
A full week after the Kentucky primary, which featured a record turnout of more than 1 million voters in the combined Democratic and Republican primaries, retired Marine Corps helicopter pilot Amy McGrath has been projected with winner over state Rep. Charles Booker’s (D-Louisville). With more votes still awaiting to be counted from several counties, Ms. McGrath did well in rural areas throughout the state but lost the biggest population centers of Louisville, Lexington, and Bowling Green.
Ms. McGrath has a 45.4 – 42.6% lead over Rep. Booker, a spread of 15,149 votes of the 544,062 ballots so far recorded and tabulated. Ms. McGrath, with only a plurality victory and a much weaker showing than originally predicted, now faces Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) in the general election.
Kentucky: McGrath Re-takes Lead
Returns are still just trickling in from last week’s June 23rd primary, with a bulk of the vote totals scheduled to be released today. At this point, retired Marine Corps helicopter pilot Amy McGrath has usurped state Rep. Charles Booker’s (D-Louisville) small lead, but still less than 100,000 voters statewide have been posted. With what appears to be a record turnout, the result from hundreds of thousands of mailed votes remain uncertain.
In addition to potentially definitive numbers coming today from Kentucky and possibly New York, the Colorado, Oklahoma, and Utah primaries begin.
Kentucky: Booker Takes Lead
Only 10,377 votes have been tabulated in Jefferson County, Kentucky, but they are enough to vault state Rep. Charles Booker (D-Louisville) into the statewide lead over retired Marine Corps helicopter pilot Amy McGrath in their battle for the Democratic US Senate nomination. The new count shows Mr. Booker with a 43.5 – 40.0% edge, or a 2,587 vote spread. Still, over half-million votes wait to be counted so the race clearly remains undecided. It does appear from all indications, however, that the end result will be very close between the two candidates.
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