KENTUCKY
     Nov. 3, 2020 Senate                                      

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+Mitch McConnell (R) i
1,233,315
55.76%
Amy McGrath (D)
816,257
38.23%
Brad Barron (L) 85,386
4.00%
write-ins
99
 

2,135,057

Plurality: 417,058 votes (17.53 percentage points).
 KY Secretary of State




Notes: 
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R), first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1984, won a seventh term, defeating Amy McGrath (D), a Marine fighter pilot who was the Democratic nominee in CD-6 in 2018, and Brad Barron (L), a businessman and regenerative farmer from Bowling Green.  McConnell was a top target for Democrats, and a lot of money flowed into this race. 

In a June 9, 2020 opinion piece in the Courier Journal, McConnell campaign manager Kevin Golden wrote of the Majority Leader as "
the only current congressional leader not from New York or California, arguably the most influential advocate the Bluegrass has ever sent to Washington, and the master legislator who is frequently described as “the most influential Senate majority leader since Lyndon Johnson.”  McConnell garnered 82.8% of the vote in the June 23, 2020 Republican primary, besting six other candidates.

McGrath, who announced her candidacy on July 9, 2019 was seen by Democrats as a strong challenger to McConnell.  The DSCC endorsed her on Feb. 13, 2020, at which point her campaign had already raised $17 million.  However, state Rep. Charles Booker, a first-term Black legislator from Louisville, attracted support of many prominent progressives, including Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and boosted by concerns over racial justice following the killing of George Floyd, made a competitive race of the June 23 Democratic primary.  McGrath defeated Booker by 247,037 votes (45.4%) to 231,888 (42.6%) with eight other candidates rounding out the field. 

There was one debate between the major party candidates.  McGrath declined to participate in the Kentucky Farm Bureau forum on Aug. 31.  McConnell and McGrath met in the studios of WKYT-TV in Lexington on Oct. 12; the candidates and moderator were each about 20 feet apart (>).  McConnell said of McGrath, "In spite of her best efforts, she's a national Democrat; she is in line with Shumer and Pelosi and all the rest on all of these issues."  McGrath said, "Senator McConnell built a Senate that is so dysfunctional and so partisan that even in the middle of a national crisis he can't get it done." 
McConnell declined to participate in the KET Kentucky Tonight forum hosted by Renee Shaw on Oct. 26; McGrath and Barron engaged in the event in studio (>).
 

McConnell's campaign ran a moving closing ad "Walk Again," which told how his mother helped him overcome polio and purchased his first pair of shoes "so that one day I could walk the steps of the Senate to fight for you with the same persistence and tenacity she taught me (>)."  Summing up the outcome after the election, McConnell stated, "At the risk of bragging, it wasn't very close."

Although McGrath's campaign did extraordinarily well in fundraising it did run into a number of bumps, including the close primary result.  In mid-August she replaced her campaign manager.  The Lexington Herald-Leader endorsed McGrath on Oct. 12, but the Courier Journal refrained from making an endorsement.  Despite the fundraising success, McGrath's 38.23% showing was slightly worse than Alison Lundergan Grimes' showing against McConnell in 2014.
 
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the Kentucky race was the tenth most expensive of the 2020 cycle, with spending totaling $187.5 million (>).  Candidate spending totaled $155.6 million.  Spending by outside groups totaled $31.9 million.  The McConnell campaign raised $71.4 million, spent $64.8 million and finished with cash on hand of $6.8 million.  The McGrath campaign raised $94.1 million, spent $90.8 million and finished with cash on hand of $3.4 million.  The biggest outside spending groups were, Keep Kentucky Great, a super PAC which spent $13.0 million ("
Kentucky needs the courageous, conservative, effective leadership of Leader Mitch McConnell") and Ditch Fund, a Carey committee which spent $11.5 million ("a completely grassroots-funded organization solely dedicated to holding Mitch McConnell accountable, supporting his Democratic opponent Amy McGrath, and defeating Mitch once and for all in 2020.")



Campaign Managers
Mitch McConnell: 
Kevin Golden
From London, KY.


Amy McGrath: 
Dan Kanninen
(announced Aug. 14, 2020, taking over from Mark Nickolas)  Partner and CEO at STG (formerly Smoot Tewes Group).  North Carolina senior advisor on Hillary for America in Fall 2016. 
Senior advisor in Virginia to Obama for America in the 2012 general election after serving as Northeast regional director in Chicago during the primaries.  White House Liaison to the EPA.  Legislative director to Gov. Jim Doyle of Wisconsin from Dec. 2008.  Wisconsin state director on Obama's 2008 general election campaign, after working on the primary campaigns in WI, OH (early vote lead) and NC (deputy political director and GOTV political director).  Chief of staff to Wisconsin Sen. Robert Jauch (D-Poplar) for four years and had almost a decade of experience working in the Wisconsin State Capitol.  Attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Superior native.

Mark Nickolas  ....to Aug. 2020 
Returned to Kentucky to manage McGrath's 2018 congressional campaign.  Managing editor of Political Base from Oct. 2007.  Ran the BluegrassReport blog, June 2005-July 2007.  Campaign manager on Ben Chandler's campaign for Congress in the Feb. 2004 special election.  Campaign manager on KY Attorney General Ben Chandler's run for governor, 2003.  Deputy campaign manager on U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson's (SD) narrow re-election win in 2002.  Worked on Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign.  Graduate of UC Berkeley, 1989.  Originally from Oakland, CA.







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