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State Rep. Charles Booker Files For McConnell’s Senate Seat

Lisa Autry

Louisville Democratic state Rep. Charles Booker has filed his paperwork to run for the seat currently held by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

As an outspoken advocate for the Green New Deal, Medicare For All and impeaching President Donald Trump, Booker is running as a progressive alternative to Amy McGrath, the well-funded retired Marine fighter pilot already running as a Democrat in the race.

Booker said he wants to build a movement and get people involved who don’t normally participate in the political process.

“This is bigger than getting rid of Mitch McConnell, that we can inspire something different. And folks that haven’t vote[d] in a long time or maybe never voted will take a chance,” Booker said.


Booker is a Louisville native who graduated from University of Louisville law school. He worked for the Legislative Research Commission as an analyst until 2014, when he was fired for appearing in a campaign video for Alison Lundergan Grimes, who ran for U.S. Senate that year.

Booker then worked as a director of administrative services in the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife and was elected to the state House of Representatives in 2018. He also worked as a policy analyst for the Louisville Urban League.

The Senate contest also includes progressive Mike Broihier, a retired Marine, news editor and farmer from Lincoln County.

Booker and Broihier will have to contend with the much better-funded candidate Amy McGrath during the primary election, which takes place on May 19.

McGrath has raised $16.9 million since she entered the race in July and has already spent $2 million in television advertising.

Her campaign is also supported by a super PAC that is being run by the former campaign manager of Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, according to the Lexington Herald Leader.

When asked if it felt like he was running against the Democratic Party establishment, Booker said he can’t afford to play political games.

“I am running for the people of Kentucky. And that means we call out the status quo, whoever that implicates. This is a moment we can’t play politics. We’ve been dying while others play politics,” Booker said.

Booker will not be running for reelection for his seat in the state House of Representatives, which stretches along the Ohio River in Louisville.

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives. He's covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago and a master's degree in journalism from the University of Texas. He grew up in Lexington.

Email Ryland at
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