Early results have Charles Booker poised to ‘shock the world’ in Kentucky’s Senate Democratic primary
The winner will face Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in November.
Kentucky state Rep. Charles Booker took a narrow 3-point lead over the Democratic establishment’s candidate Amy McGrath Thursday, a lead which could lead to an AOC-caliber upset in Congress.
According to primary election results by The Associated Press, Booker surpassed McGrath Thursday morning in a 3.5% lead, with NBC reporting a 4% lead. While only accounting for 12% of the total vote, Booker’s lead includes majorities in Kentucky’s major cities of Louisville, Lexington, and Frankfort.
Still, the vote is still too-close-to-call.
“Perhaps what we learned most clearly tonight is this: Mail-in ballots mean elections are unlikely to be one-night affairs this year,” wrote Jennifer Medina with the New York Times.
McGrath had been leading the race since ballots began to be counted on June 23. Until Thursday morning's shift, she maintained a narrow lead over Booker.
Booker marked the shift in the lead with a tweet, saying, “What’s going on in Kentucky, you ask???”
— Charles Booker (@Booker4KY) June 25, 2020
The lead comes after a major controversy at the Louisville polls on election day.
There was only one designated polling place in Louisville, a city of 600,000 people. Voters who didn’t cast mail-in ballots faced long lines at the polls, and many ended up stuck in traffic because of the congestion to vote
“Because of a record number of mail-in ballots, we won’t get official vote tallies from county clerks right away. We’re all eager to get results, but I am grateful for the extra effort and due diligence to make sure every voice is heard and every vote is counted.” tweeted McGrath.
But voters were locked out of the single polling place in Louisville at 6 p.m., resorting to banging on the doors, and demanding the polls to reopen.
Booker was forced to file an injunction to extend voting time in Jefferson County, which was denied. McGrath also filed an injunction to keep the polls open.
Kentucky Officials locked the polling doors at 6pm. Voters were still waiting. The people demanded the doors open. Candidates filed an injunction to extend the time. The judge granted an extension. The people are voting in Kentucky...pic.twitter.com/vcHuxSgL0a
— Rex Chapman (@RexChapman) June 23, 2020
The site later appeared to allow an extension past the 6 p.m. deadline, with Booker’s campaign manager tweeting, “the doors to the Expo Center have been opened and voters are being allowed to cast their ballots.
Despite this, Booker’s hometown pulled-through.
This election cycle in Kentucky wasn’t expected to be much of a competition. But Booker made a late surge in line with recent Black Lives Matter protests nationwide.
“Only a movement can beat Mitch McConnell. We are the people he has ignored for decades. Black, Brown, and White Kentuckians, from the hood to the holler, we are rising up. We were so invisible to him, he never saw us coming.” Booker tweeted on election day
He is the youngest Black state lawmaker in Kentucky. His platform is unapologetically progressive and Booker has maintained a strong presence on the front lines of protests against police brutality in his hometown of Louisville, where Breonna Taylor was unjustly killed by police.
The final results on June 30 will determine whether his campaign will truly “shock the world.”