Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell continues to poll ahead of his Democratic challenger, Amy McGrath.
Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, is the longest-serving U.S. senator in the history of the state. Amy McGrath, a retired Marine fighter pilot, is looking to stop him from securing a seventh term.
Although the Democratic nominee led a strong fundraising campaign — scoring nearly $47 million by the end of June compared to McConnell’s $36.7 million by the end of September — the poll shows McGrath trailing her rival in the red state.
In the most recent study, the left-leaning Data for Progress research group surveyed 807 potential voters from 14 to 19 September, finding that 48% would back McConnell, compared to 41% who preferred McGrath.
Days earlier, McConnell’s lead had widened even more, with 53% of McConnell’s likely voters endorsing more than 41% of McGrath, according to the Quinnipiac University poll conducted from 10 to 14 September.
McGrath had a narrow lead over her challenger at the end of May, according to the RMG Research survey of 500 registered voters. Then, 41% of those surveyed said they backed McGrath, compared to 40% who chose McConnell.
But one month later, McConnell took another leap forward. In the Morning Consult poll conducted between 793 likely voters from July 24 to August 2, McGrath received 36 per cent of the support from the voters, compared to 53 per cent from McConnell.
McGrath and McConnell went head-to – head on Monday night during their first televised debate. The lawmakers debated concerns such as the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic and the battle to appoint President Donald Trump to the Supreme Court.
The Democratic nominee blamed McConnell for the absence of a second federal stimulus plan, which he called a “deletion of duty,” NBC News said. McConnell, in particular, blamed his Democratic Legislative colleagues for the lapse in progress.
“I think her entire campaign is: She’s a Marine, she’s a mom and I’ve been there too long,” McConnell said of his opponent.
McGrath had a response of her own: “Senator, you’ve been there for 36 years. How’s it looking, Kentucky?” She listed the state’s high cancer and diabetes rates, and a lack of broadband access and well-paying jobs in some parts of the state.
McConnell pointed to the billions of dollars in federal funds he had given while serving — something McGrath claimed would not be able to duplicate if she had to succeed him and become a freshman senator.
Mitch McConnell, Amy McGrath spar over federal response to coronavirus during Kentucky debate
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s opponent accused him of failing the nation with the lack of another coronavirus relief package, while the Republican incumbent described himself as a strong advocate for Kentucky in a hard-hitting televised debate on Monday night.
In their first and possibly only campaign debate, McConnell and Democratic candidate Amy McGrath sparred the federal response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Supreme Court nomination contest, and the Republican record for decades.
McGrath, a former Marine war pilot, was hostile when he criticized the senator for the failure of Congress to obtain another round of federal relief for a pandemic economy, calling it a “deletion of duty.” McConnell blamed congressional Democrats for the stalemated negotiations.
McConnell praised his senior Senate leadership role and his ability to bring federal money as important assets to Kentucky that would be lost if he left the Senate. McGrath said that the Republican incumbent had refused to fix the persistent economic and health challenges of the state.
The exchange was personal as McConnell replied to McGrath’s dam, and her repeated references praised her Marine career with training her as a problem solver.
“I think her entire campaign is: she’s a Marine, she’s a mom and I’ve been there (the Senate) too long,” McConnell said.
McConnell countered that he’s delivered billions of dollars in federal money that McGrath couldn’t replicate if she replaces him and takes her place as a freshman on the “back bench” in the Senate.
“I allow Kentucky to punch above its weight,” McConnell said. “What does it mean to Kentucky over the last term? My last term $17.5 billion for the commonwealth that would not have been there had I not been the majority leader of the Senate.”
When asked about the federal response to the coronavirus outbreak, McGrath gave President Donald Trump and Congress an “F,” before turning her attention to McConnell.
“His one job is to help America through this crisis right now in passing legislation to keep our economy afloat so that people can make ends meet,” she said. “And instead of doing that, he is trying to ram through a Supreme Court nominee right now, instead of negotiating, which is what he should have been doing all summer long to make that happen.”
For his part, McConnell said he offered another coronavirus relief bill about a month ago that stalled when it drew no Democratic support in the Senate.
“I think they don’t want a solution prior to the election,” he said of congressional Democrats.
Trying to put the blame back on McConnell, McGrath said: “If you want to call yourself a leader, you got to get things done. Those of us who served in the Marines, we don’t just point fingers at the other side, we get the job done.”
McConnell noted that he shepherded an economic rescue package totaling more than $2 trillion through the Senate early in the fight against the pandemic. McGrath responded: “That legislation was passed back in March, and here we are this coronavirus is still happening.”
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