Chuck Schumer is actively recruiting a high-profile fighter pilot to take on Mitch McConnell in 2020 — a calculated act of aggression against a leading Republican foe.
Schumer met with Amy McGrath, a Marine veteran-turned 2018 congressional candidate, at Democratic Party headquarters last month to pitch her on running against McConnell. McGrath listened and didn’t rule it out. The Democratic leader first contacted McGrath in December.
McConnell, the longest-serving Senate GOP leader, is gearing up for a reelection fight and leaving little to chance. His political team has begun compiling opposition research on McGrath and delving into video tracking footage of her. On Wednesday, senior Republican Party officials involved with a pro-McConnell super PAC will meet in Washington to begin mapping out a potential campaign against McGrath.
The Republican leader has also tapped a 2020 campaign manager: Kevin Golden, a veteran party operative who worked on McConnell’s 2014 reelection bid and oversaw Tennessee Republican Marsha Blackburn’s successful 2018 Senate campaign.
Schumer’s offensive underscores the frayed relations between the two Senate leaders. In recent months, they have sparred bitterly on issues ranging from judicial nominees to the federal shutdown.
While it’s not unprecedented for one Senate leader to try to unseat a counterpart, the recruitment mission is an unmistakable act of hostility that’s sure to ratchet up tensions.