Mitch McConnell has been safely in his Kentucky Senate seat across several election cycles, but he could be facing a stiff challenge in 2020 from a Democratic opponent making a big mark on fundraising.
Democrat Amy McGrath announced that she finished 2019 with a $6 million haul and now has $9.1 million in cash thanks to a massive fundraising campaign. As Newsweek reported, McGrath has now raised close to $17 million since announcing her candidacy in July.
Mark Nickolas, McGrath’s campaign manager, said that her ability to raise money is “unlike anything I’ve ever seen” and predicted that she would end up raising more money than one of the most powerful Republicans.
“I think Senator McConnell finally has an opponent who will outraise him,” Nickolas added.
The McConnell campaign claimed that the fundraising haul was the result of Democratic opponents rallying against McConnell.
“Any left-wing name on the ballot against Mitch McConnell will raise tens of millions from liberal elites in New York and California who want to eliminate Kentucky’s power to shape policy in Washington,” McConnell’s campaign manager, Kevin Golden, told Newsweek. “What they can’t do is invent left-wing voters in Kentucky who would cast a ballot for a candidate who would erase their voice like Amy McGrath.”
While it was not clear where McGrath’s donations were coming from, she has certainly captured national attention in her bid to oust McConnell from the Senate. She has gained the support of many who see McConnell as an enabler of Donald Trump and who still oppose him for his efforts to stymie Barack Obama’s political agenda, including McConnell’s unprecedented efforts to thwart Obama’s Supreme Court nomination after the death of Antonin Scalia in February of 2016.
Democrats in Kentucky are also hopeful after striking some major statewide victories in 2019. That included defeating Republican incumbent Governor Matt Bevin. After the win, McGrath took to Twitter to predict that she would carry the momentum into 2020 as she took on McConnell.
“This year, it was Matt Bevin. Next year, it’ll be Mitch McConnell,” McGrath tweeted.
There is other evidence that McConnell could be vulnerable next year. A recent poll from the Morning Consult showed that McConnell’s disapproval rate among Kentucky voters has hit 50 percent, while just 37 percent approve of the job he is doing. McConnell has also become the face of Republican opposition to the Democratic-led House, as he has prevented a number of bills from reaching the Senate floor, even many with bipartisan support.
The Senate majority leader has also come under fire for what appeared to be coordination with the White House on the upcoming impeachment trial, with McConnell indicating that he will work to quickly acquit Trump of the charges.