LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Incumbent Mitch McConnell has defeated Democratic challenger Amy McGrath and Libertarian candidate Brad Barron to serve a record-breaking seventh term in the U.S. Senate, the Associated Press has announced.
McConnell was first elected in 1984, making history then as the only Republican challenger in the country to beat an incumbent Democrat. In 2014, McConnell captured 110 of 120 Kentucky counties to beat Alison Lundergan Grimes.
The Senate Majority Leader, who has served more than 35 years, has been trading political jabs with McGrath in hopes of wooing voters who had yet to make up their minds.
In recent polls, McConnell held a nearly double digit lead over McGrath, though political scientists said McGrath has run a closer race than previous McConnell challengers.
"Of all the campaigns I've seen against McConnell over the years, I think she has really taken it to him unlike any other," Dr. Dewey Clayton with UofL's Department of Political Science said. "Usually, by this time in a campaign, McConnell has flooded the airwaves and the opponent is no where to be found but she has gone toe-to-toe with him in financing and getting ads out."
Still, experts said McConnell's experience gave him a leg up with most Kentuckians, saying the incumbency advantage was enough to expect a McConnell win.
McConnell has been taking victory laps after Judge Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed to the Supreme Court, tilting it to a 6-3 conservative majority.
McGrath has been hammering McConnell on the federal response to the coronavirus, claiming that he could have done more to help Kentuckians during the pandemic.
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