Booker takes lead over McGrath in Democratic race for US Senate in Kentucky primary

Kentucky’s Democratic primary race for U.S. Senate could still go either way, but Charles Booker is now in the lead over Amy McGrath.

Booker led by fewer than 3,000 votes as of Thursday afternoon, based in part on a dominating showing so far in his hometown of Louisville, the state’s largest city, where he garnered 80% of in-person votes counted. Booker also had a lopsided advantage so far in Lexington, the state’s second-largest city.

Through an Open Records Request, WDRB News has obtained the numbers from the roughly 15,000 people who voted in person Tuesday at the Kentucky Expo Center. Those totals show Jefferson County Democrats voted more than five-to-one for Booker. That does not include any of the absentee ballots mailed in or dropped off at the Jefferson County Board of Elections

“We’re going to have to wait a few days for final results, but we are fired up by what we’re already seeing in the early returns,” Booker said in a statement. “We feel like we’re in a strong position to bring this home once every vote is counted.”

Booker, who supports a universal basic income and Medicare for All – ideas that McGrath has resisted – also was showing strength in parts of rural Kentucky.

McGrath’s campaign remained confident that she’ll emerge as the Democratic nominee. McGrath, a retired Marine pilot, was seen as the clear frontrunner for most of the campaign until Booker seized the momentum in the final weeks.

“We are looking forward to tallies of the absentee ballots, which is 90% of the total vote,” said McGrath’s campaign manager, Mark Nickolas. “In counties that have already reported them, Amy is winning by huge margins, so we feel great about the outcome.”

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