Democrat Charles Booker, a former Kentucky state Representative, has announced the formation of an exploratory committee for a campaign to unseat Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul in the upcoming midterm elections. Paul has been a close ally of ex-President Donald Trump to the point that, last December, the Senator falsely claimed that the presidential election had been “stolen.” Elsewhere, Paul has also distinguished himself with mid-Congressional hearing rants at Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Booker — who ran in the Democratic primary race for Kentucky Republican and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s seat in 2020 — announced his exploratory committee during a discussion on MSNBC about recent police violence against Black Americans. Booker commented, in part, as follows:
‘When we think about the struggles that we’re facing, and the fact that these challenges are not only real — they’re structural, and they’re generational — and that we need healing right now and we have to come together across racial divides, across geographical divides, across partisan divides to acknowledge that this is a fight for our future — I’m committed to that here in Kentucky. And that is why, today, I emphatically and urgently announce an exploratory committee for U.S. Senate to take a stand, to build a movement, to finally remove Rand Paul from office so that we can have leaders in every level of government that give a damn about our lives and will fight for us, not against us.’
The last time that Kentucky had a Democratic Senator was in 1999 — although that’s not an insurmountable hurdle. In the 2020 presidential race, Joe Biden won Arizona and Georgia, marking the first victories in the states for Democratic presidential nominees since the 1990s. After Biden’s victory in Georgia, the state elected its first Democratic Senators in over a decade.
Going forward, Democrats have additional Senate seat pick-up opportunities in states including Pennsylvania and North Carolina, where Republican incumbents who would be on the ballot in 2022 have announced retirement plans. In Pennsylvania, the state’s other Senator is already a Democrat, so the party’s chances seem pretty solid there.