Charles Booker, a former Kentucky state representative who ran a high-profile but ultimately unsuccessful run for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s seat last year, floated running against Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) next year during a television appearance Sunday.
Booker, a Democrat, said Sunday he is “strongly considering” another Senate run during an appearance on Kentucky Educational Television according to the Louisville Courier Journal.
“I believe the work is not done and we have, and we have the ability to tell a new story for Kentucky, and I want to do my part in that,” Booker said.
Booker rose to national prominence touting a progressive platform that included universal health care, large-scale criminal justice reform and supporting a Green New Deal, though he said Sunday he would work to unite constituents on both sides of the aisle as a senator.
“There are struggles that I have experienced in the west end of Louisville that aren’t partisan—rationing my insulin, seeing my lights be cut off, not having a place to stay, seeing loved ones battle drug addiction and looking at jobs leaving our community and never coming back,” Booker said on KET.
Booker said he will discuss the matter with his family and come to a decision “really soon.”
Paul won his most recent Senate election in 2016 by a solid 15 points against Jim Gray, the former mayor of Lexington, Kentucky, and is so far running unopposed in 2022.
53%. That’s the percentage of Kentucky voters who said they approved of Paul’s performance as senator in a small poll last month, indicating Booker may have his work cut out for him. A whopping 47% said they would vote for Paul if he ran for reelection.
Booker ran a high-profile senate race in 2020 to take McConnell’s Senate seat, but lost narrowly to former Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath in the Democratic primaries. He gained national attention for taking part in protests against racism in Louisville, Kentucky, where Breonna Taylor was killed by police officers as she slept. During his term in the Kentucky State House, he was the state’s youngest Black lawmaker. McGrath went on to lose against McConnell by about 20 points. Like many red states, Kentucky cities tend to vote for Democratic candidates. While there are slightly more registered Democrats in Kentucky than registered Republicans (48% of voters vs. 43% of voters, respectively) former President Donald Trump and state GOP candidates won by a landslide there in 2020. Jefferson County and Fayette County, which contain the state’s two biggest cities, Louisville and Lexington, were the only counties to go blue.
Democrats have set their sights on widening their slim Senate majority by challenging Republican incumbents. Five Republican senators have already indicated they will not run for reelection next year, putting the GOP on the defensive, while no Democratic senators have indicated they will retire.
Former lawmaker Charles Booker ‘strongly considering’ running against Rand Paul for Senate (Louisville Courier Journal)