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McGrath bests McConnell in 2020 fundraising so far, but Senate leader has plenty of cash

Both campaigns report similar sums in their campaign coffers

Kentucky Democrat Amy McGrath outpaced Senate Majority Mitch McConnell in first-quarter fundraising for the year.
Kentucky Democrat Amy McGrath outpaced Senate Majority Mitch McConnell in first-quarter fundraising for the year. (Composition by Chris Hale/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s leading Democratic challenger easily outpaced him in first-quarter fundraising, but the Senate majority leader has no shortage of cash in his campaign war chest.

Kentucky Democrat Amy McGrath’s campaign said Tuesday that the retired Marine fighter pilot had raised $12.8 million in the three months ended March 31, compared with a total of $7.45 million announced by McConnell’s campaign.

McGrath has now raised $29.8 million overall, compared with $25.6 for the Republican incumbent, according to numbers provided by the two campaigns.

Past leading Democratic challengers to McConnell have generally had little trouble raising money from donors eager to try to unseat the Senate leader, who is seeking a seventh term.

The two campaigns said they had roughly the same amount of cash on hand at March 31. Disclosures of who gave them the money and how they spent it from January through March are due with the Federal Election Commission next week.

Earlier Tuesday, McConnell campaign manager Kevin Golden touted the amount of money raised in the first quarter.

“Team Mitch had a record-breaking start to 2020 with our highest fundraising quarter in history and the most-ever cash on hand for any campaign in Kentucky’s history,” Golden said in a statement. “Kentuckians know that at a time of great consequence, there is no substitute for the proven leadership of Mitch McConnell.”

Both campaigns used the end of the quarter as a chance to offer their competing messages about McConnell’s legislative efforts in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Golden highlighted the Senate’s work to enact a $2.3 trillion coronavirus relief package, but McGrath’s campaign said the majority leader held up passage of that bill to benefit pharmaceutical companies.

“What our numbers show is that voters are fed up with Mitch McConnell continually putting corporate handouts ahead of working people,” Terry Sebastian, McGrath’s senior communications strategist, said in a statement.

McGrath, who lost a well-funded race for a House seat in 2018, faces state Rep. Charles Booker in the Democratic primary, which was moved from May 19 to June 23.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the Kentucky Senate race Solid Republican.

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