After a week of nail biting over the tight U.S. Senate race in Kentucky, Amy McGrath has now been declared the winner. Kentucky state Sen. Charles Booker was leading the race with nearly 79 percent reporting last week, but the final tally has McGrath with 45.1 percent of the vote and Booker with 42 percent.
She will face Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in November.
While McGrath snagged the victory, it was a much bigger fight than she and her supporters in Washington anticipated. With a $40 million war chest, she was supposed to steamroll Booker and the rest of the field. But the current uprisings against police brutality breathed life in Booker’s race and set him on the path to a major upset and fresh injection of cash to his coffers.
Booker may have fallen short this race, but he proved that a Black, radical progressive who boldly called for defunding the police can be competitive in Kentucky. His political career likely will not end with this loss as U.S. Sen. Rand Paul’s seat is up for grabs in 2022.
In New York, the 16th Congressional District House race has not been called officially but Jamaal Bowman has a 25-point lead (or more than 12,000 votes) over Eliot Engel and few experts expect the incumbent to make up that difference.
In the 12th Congressional District, also in New York, U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney is ahead with 41.7 percent of the vote with her rival Suraj Patel, who has 40.1 percent. Maloney and Engel are waiting for mail-in votes to be counted. That race remains a toss-up, with no clear timeframe of when a winner will be declared.
Either way, this is a win for progressives. Even with Booker’s loss, we know what is possible. The South can be won by progressives if those progressives are recruited properly and get the support of the community.