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Sen. Elizabeth Warren Endorses Charles Booker In Kentucky Senate Race

Ryland Barton

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has endorsed Charles Booker’s bid to unseat incumbent Republican Rand Paul in Kentucky’s senate race next year.

Warren is a second-term senator from Massachusetts and former Democratic presidential candidate who’s weighed in on Kentucky elections before.

She endorsed Booker in last year’s senate race after initially throwing her support behind retired Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath. She also endorsed Alison Lundergan Grimes in her unsuccessful bid to unseat Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell in 2014.

In a statement, Warren said Booker has the “right vision and heart to reclaim Kentucky’s Senate seat for the people.”

“Charles understands that the wealthy and powerful too often write the rules in Washington, and he believes deep down that we need to change that. I believe he will take on these righteous fights, and I can’t wait to call him my colleague in the next Congress,” Warren said.

Booker is a lawyer and former state representative from Louisville who narrowly lost the Democratic nomination to run for Kentucky’s senate seat last year to McGrath.

He’s trying to buck Kentucky’s trend of sending Republicans to the U.S. Senate—the last time the state sent a Democrat to the Senate was longtime Sen. Wendell Ford’s final victory in 1994.

In a separate fundraising email sent by Booker’s campaign, Warren compared the election in Kentucky to her first campaign victory in Massachusetts over incumbent Republican Sen. Scott Brown.

“The Republican incumbent was popular and had a big campaign bank account. A woman had never won as Senator or Governor in Massachusetts before,” Warren said. “But, I decided to go for it because I believed we could make a difference. We ran uphill. We built a powerful grassroots movement. And we won that race.”

The Republican Party of Kentucky responded to the endorsement on Twitter.

In a statement, Booker said he’s building on last year’s campaign.

“What we’re doing in Kentucky will not only change our commonwealth, but will change the nation and the entire world. We will build a society in which all of us have financial freedom, health care, and true public safety. As a leader in those fights at the national level, Sen. Warren’s support is humbling. I look forward to standing with her and supporters across the country to take Kentucky’s Senate back for the people,” Booker said.

Booker was an underdog in last year’s race, but support for him surged amid racial justice protests across the state and nation, nabbing endorsements from national figures like Warren, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and New York U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Sen. Rand Paul’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives for Kentucky Public Radio, a group of public radio stations including WKMS, WFPL in Louisville, WEKU in Richmond and WKYU in Bowling Green. A native of Lexington, Ryland most recently served as the Capitol Reporter for Kentucky Public Radio. He has covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin.
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