In the Democratic primary in Kentuckys 6th Congressional District, former fighter pilot Amy McGrath defeated Lexington Mayor Jim Gray while running up strong numbers in the districts rural areas. Gray, initially cajoled into the contest by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, conceded the race around 8 pm on Tuesday night. .
Initially, Grays entry into the primary contest drew the ire of McGrath and her campaign. They viewed it as a slight for a candidate who had already created a viral ad and began raising serious money.
The DCCC did not add either of the candidates to its coveted Red to Blue program, which provides additional resources for Democrats seeking to flip Republican-held seats. And one aide on the committee informed The Daily Beast that they viewed either candidate as being in a strong position to take on incumbent Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY).
When the race was over, DCCC chairman Rep. Ben Ray Lujn (D-NM) said Amy has built a formidable campaign, and voters across the district have responded to her message of leadership and standing up for affordable health care. With her inspiring record of service and all of the momentum at her back, there is no question that Amy McGrath is ready to flip this key district.
Gray, for his part, acknowledged in an interview with The Daily Beast last week that this was going to be a difficult race. Nobody is entitled to this nomination, he said. We have to earn it.
His campaigns last minute decision to air an ad McGrath viewed as negative on Friday evening may not have helped his case either. It used her service in the Marine Corps to paint McGrath as somewhat of a carpetbagger and drew a condemnation from the campaign.
McGrath outraised Gray throughout the primary cycle and earned the support of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA). His group raised over $130,000 for her and sent out over 44,000 get-out-the-vote texts on her behalf just this weekend, according to a source directly familiar.
I think Amy is a fantastic leader and thats what makes her a great candidate, Moulton said in an interview on Tuesday night. Shes someone who has the courage to stand up to the political establishment.