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Gov. Beshear plans to back Democratic candidate Charles Booker in US Senate race

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Andy Beshear announced his plan to endorse Democratic candidate Charles Booker for the U.S. Senate. Booker will face off against incumbent Republican Sen. Rand Paul in November.

While it’s too soon to say if Booker will get a boost thanks to Beshear’s endorsement, it’s good news for the campaign.

Recent fundraising numbers reported by each campaign show Paul having a significant fundraising advantage over Booker. Paul raised more than $3.1 million in the three-month period that ended in June, while Booker collected more than $1.3 million.

November is set to be a contest of opposites. Paul’s libertarian stance of limited government and less spending will be pitted against Booker’s progressive policy platform he dubs the “Kentucky New Deal.” A large part of his campaign has focused on his “Hood to the Holler” effort aiming to build an urban-rural coalition.

Booker also received a number of endorsements early on in the campaign from national progressives, including Senators Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

He’s the first Black Democratic nominee in a federal election in Kentucky. While the Kentucky Democratic Party has a history of fielding moderate candidates in statewide elections, Booker’s nomination marks a progressive shift. His Democratic primary win was an easy one with no major challengers, but political watchers say challenging Paul isn’t an easy feat.

He first ran for Senate in 2020 and surged to prominence amid racial justice protests, but lost the Democratic nomination to retired Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath.

Beshear had previously endorsed McGrath in the 2020 run after she beat Booker in the Democratic primary, but McGrath lost to Sen. Mitch McConnell.