Democratic candidates Amy McGrath and Mike Broihier each said they filed paperwork Friday to run for the seat currently held by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican.
Both former Marines, Ms. McGrath and Mr. Broihier separately indicated on social media that they have taken the next step to challenge Mr. McConnell at the ballot box in November 2020.
Ms. McGrath, a former fighter pilot, previously ran for Congress as a Democrat in 2018 against incumbent Rep. Andy Barr, Kentucky Republican, narrowly losing by only a few percentage points in the traditionally red state, notwithstanding President Trump endorsing her opponent.
She posted on Twitter that she officially filed her papers to run for the Senate while joined by Martha Layne Collins, Kentucky’s first and only female governor, and that she also visited the office of Gov. Andy Beshear, a fellow Democrat inaugurated this month after earlier defeating the Republican candidate backed by the president, incumbent Matt Bevin.
Speaking to The Associated Press, Mr. McGrath said the new governor’s victory in November “absolutely gives us momentum because it shows that against an unpopular Republican incumbent, a Democrat can win.”
Kevin Golden, a campaign manager for Mr. McConnell, responded that Ms. McGrath “knows she can’t possibly make a cogent argument that she could do a fraction of the good Mitch McConnell does for Kentucky, so she’s left with this disjointed, half-baked justification for her candidacy that is simply not ready for prime time,” the AP reported.
Mr. Broihier, a former Marine officer, farmer and newspaper editor, similarly posted from his Twitter account Friday that he had “filed at the Kentucky Secretary of State’s office to beat @senatemajldr,” tagging Mr. McConnell in a tweet.
“Voters are energized,” Mr. Broihier said in an interview, the AP reported.
Mr. McConnell, 77, has represented Kentucky in the U.S. Senate since 1985 and currently serves alongside Sen. Rand Paul, another Republican.