Amy McGrath wins Kentucky Senate Democratic primary, CNN projects

Amy McGrath wins Kentucky Senate Democratic primary, CNN projects

Amy McGrath held on to win the Kentucky Democratic Senate primary on Tuesday, surviving a late push from a progressive state legislator whom she outspent 40-to-1.

McGrath continued her fundraising prowess, and as of June 3 she had raised over $41 million, according to the most recent filings.

But McGrath's outsider status withstood Booker's efforts to define her a moderate, more-of-the-same, "pro-Trump Democrat" that is part of the "political establishment". With roughly 90 percent of the vote counted, McGrath led Booker by less than 2 points, garnering almost 227,000 votes to Booker's almost 219,000.

McGrath will now face Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who easily topped his Republican primary.

Since McGrath entered the race, she and McConnell have gone toe-to-toe in attack ad campaigns.

Booker's longshot Senate bid gained attention when he marched alongside protesters in his hometown of Louisville to demand justice for Breonna Taylor, a black woman shot in her home by police after they executed a no-knock warrant on the wrong house.

But Booker had momentum in the primary's waning weeks, garnering the support of notable progressives including Sens. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) and Ayanna Pressley (D., Mass.) in the days leading up to the primary.

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McGrath was backed by the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee in February, but Booker won the endorsements of the state's two largest papers, popular sports broadcaster Matt Jones (who had also considered a run) and Allison Lundergan Grimes, the former secretary of state who was the Democratic candidate for Senate against McConnell in 2014. The Courier Journal called McGrath's campaign "unimaginative and uninspiring" in its endorsement.

In the primary, the rejection of roughly 6,000 absentee ballots in Fayette County highlighted the strict rules Kentuckians must follow to ensure their mail-in votes are counted.

Election officials across the state will finish sorting through ballots ahead of today's deadline.

McGrath's massive spending advantage pushed her over the edge in a gaffe-filled primary in which she alternatively portrayed herself as a blue-dog Democrat and true-blue progressive.

Since then, McConnell's campaign has treated the well-funded McGrath as the likely Democratic nominee, seeking to cast her as too liberal for Kentucky.

While the strategy helped her war chest, it may have alienated Bluegrass State residents.

Starting with an announcement video almost a year ago, McGrath has sought to cast McConnell as out of touch with his Kentucky constituents and has blamed him for dysfunction in Washington.

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