Democrat Amy McGrath, who is running to unseat Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, finished 2019 with a $6 million fundraising haul to add to her impressive war chest heading into 2020.
The former Marine Corps veteran has raised nearly $17 million since launching her campaign in July and is entering this election year with $9.1 million in cash on hand. McGrath's campaign manager, Mark Nickolas, told Newsweek her fundraising is "unlike anything I've ever seen."
"I think Senator McConnell finally has an opponent who will outraise him," Nickolas added.
McConnell has not yet announced his fundraising totals for the final three months of 2019 and doesn't have to until the end of January. But at the previous fundraising deadline, in September, he also had about $9 million on hand.
But the Republican senator has been campaigning for far longer than McGrath. McConnell has been fundraising since 2015 (after his last re-election bid), while McGrath has been on the trail for only about six months. Still, he is one of the most powerful members of Congress and spent over $30 million in his last race.
In response to McGrath's fundraising, McConnell's campaign manager Kevin Golden told Newsweek: "Any left-wing name on the ballot against Mitch McConnell will raise tens of millions from liberal elites in New York and California who want to eliminate Kentucky's power to shape policy in Washington. What they can't do is invent left-wing voters in Kentucky who would cast a ballot for a candidate who would erase their voice like Amy McGrath."
While McConnell's team claimed that McGrath is raising millions from "liberal elites," her campaign said that the average donation is $36 and that over 288,600 people have contributed.
McGrath launched her campaign in July, and in the first 24 hours after her announcement she hauled in more than $2.5 million in contributions. According to her campaign, it was the most money ever raised in the first day of a Senate run.
The Democrat spent $2 million in radio and television advertisements in 2019, as well as another $3 million to $4 million in digital ads.
Nickolas said the campaign doesn't have any plans to slow down spending in 2020. "It would be political malpractice not to begin investing that money right off the bat. We've been aggressive, and we'll stay aggressive," he said.
The race between McConnell and McGrath could end up being one of the most expensive congressional contests in 2020. The ad war between the two started more than 16 months before Election Day.
In October, McConnell used the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump to raise funds for his campaign. In one ad, the Republican said the impeachment effort can be stopped thanks to the Senate's GOP majority and his efforts as its leader.
On impeachment, McGrath told the Associated Press in late December that the Senate majority leader was shirking his "constitutional duty" by implying he wouldn't hold a fair trial. McGrath said the House made the right decision by impeaching Trump but wouldn't say whether she'd support his removal from office.
McConnell has represented Kentucky since 1985 and has easily taken down his Democratic challengers. Plus, he has the support of Trump, who won the state in 2016 by a whopping 30 percentage points. But McConnell is the least popular senator in the country, with a net unfavorability rating of 50 percent in his home state.
While there has not been a lot of polling on the race, a July survey had McConnell barely beating McGrath in a head-to-head matchup. The poll, conducted by AARP, showed McConnell with 47 percent support, compared with McGrath's 46 percent.
Newsweek, January 9, 2020
January 11, 2020
Voices4America Post Script. We can get rid of #MoscowMitch. Support Amy McGrath for Senate in Kentucky. We won the Governor’s race in KY in 2019. Amy can win this with our help.
If you don’t know her, meet her now.
Here is her campaign video from 2017 when she made her first political run.
"Told Me" — Amy McGrath for Congress Announcement Video (KY-6) www.youtube.com
Here is her campaign video when she began her campaign against McConnell.
“The Letter” — Amy McGrath for U.S. Senate www.youtube.com
Donate at amymcgrath.com. Link here. https://amymcgrath.com/