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Democrats, Republicans excited about primary elections, looking ahead toward November

Senate and House seats up for grabs in the fall
Posted at 10:10 PM, Jun 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-23 23:15:15-04

Ballots are being tallied Tuesday night, and both Republicans and Democrats said there’s a lot to be excited about this fall. A Senate seat and one in the House of Representatives are up for grabs this November.

Republicans will tell you their eyes are on the other side of the aisle.

“It’s definitely the lead ticket,” former GOP spokesperson Tres Watson said. “What’s going on in the Democratic side.”

In the race for the Senate seat – a Democratic Goliath.

“Amy McGrath has gotten a ton of attention for a long time,” Kenton County Democratic Party chair Tom Elfers said.

She’s raised $41 million for her campaign, and Elfers said Louisville candidate Charles Booker might be the only challenger with a shot at bringing her down.

“That brought a lot more attention to him in the last month or so that’s made it probably a lot more interesting of a race than it might have been,” Elfers said.

Watson said the thinks Booker’s popularity hurts McGrath.

“She has the potential of being knocked off by an upstart insurgent candidate from Louisville who has caught lightning in a bottle trying to get across the finish line," Watson said. "I don’t know if Charles Booker has enough track to get there.”

No matter which way that race goes, the Democratic primary winner will face a familiar foe this fall: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“Mitch McConnell is still Mitch McConnell,” Elfers said.

For the U.S. House of Representatives 4th Congressional District on the GOP side, heavyweight congressman Thomas Massie, an eight-year incumbent, faced off against up-and-comer Todd McMurtry. Massie was declared the victor Tuesday evening.

“I think at the end of the day, knocking off an incumbent member of Congress is very difficult,” Watson said. “You’ll have to run an insurgent campaign unless you raise a substantial amount of money more than your opponent.”

Watson said McMurtry’s efforts were made more difficult due to restrictions from COVID-19.

“You can’t have big rallies,” he said. “You can’t have masses of people going out and knocking doors. It made it hard for him to run the kind of campaign you need.”

On the Democratic side – a highly-contested race between Alexandra Owensby and Shannon Fabert.

“It’s an uphill battle for the general election, but we have a better shot at winning the 4th Congressional District than we’ve had in a long time,” Elfers said.

Kenton and Campbell Counties flipped from red to blue in 2019 during the gubernatorial race, and Democrats hope that momentum continues.

“Northern Kentucky played a big part in that big success last year,” Elfers said. “I think voters feel empowered and energized to do the same thing this year.”

Watson said he doesn’t think people voted anti-Republican in 2019. Instead, he thinks people voted against Matt Bevin.

“Democrats – if they believe there’s somehow momentum to play on in 2020, I invite them to waste their money in a losing effort in NKY so we can more wisely use our money in the state to win more elections," Watson said.