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WASHINGTON (AP) — Amy McGrath, a Marine combat aviator who narrowly lost a House race to an incumbent Republican in Kentucky, has set her sights on an even more formidable target: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

McGrath, whose campaign announcement video in her House race showcased the viral power of social media to raise money and national profile, said Tuesday she will try to defeat one of the most entrenched officials in Washington in McConnell. But she sees him as vulnerable because of his lengthy tenure in Washington, his stance on healthcare, and his taut allegiance to the policies of President Donald Trump.

Her decision to enter the race represents a rare victory for Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, who has had difficulty persuading top-tier candidates in other states to take on incumbent Republicans with control of the Senate at stake.

The contest also will test the power of incumbency against a call for generational change, along with a measure of whether Trump’s popularity is transferable.

McGrath, 44, will almost certainly be able to raise enough money to mount a serious challenge to McConnell, 77, but she is still a decided underdog in a state that has not elected a Democrat to the Senate since Wendell Ford in 1992.

“I’ve been always somebody who stepped up to the plate when asked, when I felt like my country needed me, and this is one of those times,” McGrath said in an interview.

She is attempting to repeat her viral moment with a new video, one that leans hard on idealism while also attacking McConnell as the embodiment of a dysfunctional Washington.

“I felt like somebody needs to stand up to him,” McGrath said.

McGrath also reprises one element of her first video, pointedly noting that when, as a 13-year-old girl, she wrote to McConnell to make the case that women should be able to fly in combat, the senator never wrote back.

But her attacks on McConnell and his record carry risks because Trump remains highly popular in Kentucky, and McConnell has pushed through much of the president’s agenda and, perhaps more importantly, his nominees to federal courts, including Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

She said that Kentucky voters are not fans of either political party and they supported Trump in part because of his promise to “drain the swamp” in Washington, lower drug prices, and deliver a more effective alternative to the Affordable Care Act.

“Those things haven’t happened because of guys like Senator McConnell,” she said.

McGrath lost to Rep. Andy Barr by 3 percentage points in the 2018 midterm election, a race that she had been so confident of winning that she was working on her victory speech as the first returns came in.

She ran up comfortable margins in the heavily Democratic Lexington area, but Barr was able to win overwhelmingly in rural areas. Barr also benefited from a campaign appearance by Trump, rare for a House member. Former Vice President Joe Biden went to Kentucky to campaign for McGrath in what proved to be a failed effort to win back onetime Democrats in rural areas.

Trump also is expected to actively support McConnell and to try to muddy McGrath at least as much as Barr did.

In that race, McGrath, a Naval Academy graduate, foreswore negative attack ads against Barr while he and several outside groups supporting him spent millions of dollars labeling her as “too liberal” for Kentucky. McGrath, who must first win the Democratic nomination, would not show similar restraint against McConnell.

Democrats have prepared briefing books of more than 1,000 pages on McConnell, whose long record and ties to Washington interest groups provide ripe openings for attack. But he also can make the case that he has been able to use his power in Washington for the benefit of the state.

McConnell has in Kentucky a fiercely loyal team of political operatives who are known for hard-hitting campaigns that leave his opponents badly bruised.

Schumer worked hard to persuade McGrath to run against McConnell. Several other would-be recruits, including former Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, declined his overtures, and others, like former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, passed on Senate races to run for the Democratic presidential nomination.

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“Gays for Trump” founder Peter Boykin – who was banned from Twitter – opened his speech by saying his “#MeToo” moment was being “raped by social media.” pic.twitter.com/PviFnqk9o8 — Ford Fischer (@FordFischer) July 6, 2019 .@peterboykin #gaysfortrump #demandfreespeech https://t.co/voqUklacVa — The Free-Thinking Queer (@chrisbartley101) July 6, 2019

[caption id="attachment_371409" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] President Donald Trump, joined by Vice President Mike Pence, left, and Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, right, signs a $4.6 billion aid package to help the federal government cope with the surge of Central American immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border during a ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Monday, July 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)[/caption] After months of deliberations in Congress, President Trump just signed a multi-billion dollar bill into law at the White House to offer humanitarian aid to government personnel at the border. The bill contains over $1 billion to shelter and feed migrants and almost $3 billion to care for unaccompanied migrant children. This bill also requires lawmakers to be notified of a migrant child’s death within 24-hours, and implements a 90-day time limit to keep migrant children in U.S. custody. The president voiced his criticism over the U.S. government seemingly being treated like a hospital for illegal aliens:

“You know, we’re not in the hospital business. We are in the border security business at the border. And all of a sudden we’re forced to be in the hospital business. And again, they’re coming up because they want a piece of what’s happening in this country. They want the economy. They want the jobs. They’re not coming up, for the most part, for other reasons they’re coming up because they want the jobs…but we want them to come in legally through a process and we want them to come in based on merit, so the merit is very important.”

The White House had planned to carry out the raids in 10 major U.S. cities, with several of those cities’ mayors saying they would protect the illegal immigrants living in their communities. Those operations were originally scheduled to take place last month, but the president postponed them by two-weeks to give lawmakers a chance to come up with ways to close immigration loopholes and fix asylum laws. Trump has confirmed ICE will carry out immigration raids after the 4th of July.

No Longer a Republican which is what Meghan McCain claims, as she becomes an official #NeverTrumper Meghan McCain, daughter of the late Arizona Sen. John McCain, said Saturday that she no longer calls herself a Republican because the party is “so tied up with being for” President Donald Trump. McCain, 34, made the comments during […]

Wall… Wall…. or Wall…. Shutdown #2, State of Emergency, or Wall deal… all roads lead to the wall….   THE SHUTDOWN IS DEAD! LONG LIVE THE SHUTDOWN! Assuming that this evening, the president does, in fact, sign a 21-day resumption of full federal funding, we will have just endured what amounted to an incredibly expensive spitting contest. […]


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