Charles Booker launches exploratory committee to consider challenge to Rand Paul

Former Kentucky state Rep. Charles Booker (D) launched an exploratory committee Monday to examine the possibility of challenging Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) for the state’s U.S. Senate seat as Paul faces reelection next year.

In a video announcement Monday morning, Booker put Paul on notice with a declaration: “We will transform Kentucky. And Rand Paul? You know it too.”

In a statement to local news station WBKO, Booker added, “Even in a historic, unprecedented public health and economic crisis, most of our politicians couldn’t be bothered to do anything, voting against survival checks for working families and trying to take away our health care in order to give our money away to wealthy campaign donors. Kentuckians deserve a senator who will fight as hard for us as we fight for each other, and that’s why I’m formally announcing an exploratory committee for U.S. Senate.”

Booker rose to national prominence after a long-shot bid to win the state’s Democratic U.S. Senate primary in 2018 ended in a narrow defeat to Amy McGrath (D), who went on to be handily defeated by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that November. Booker’s message so far has centered on the theme of racial and economic justice, with references to the ongoing hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic and tensions resulting from the deaths of Black Americans in encounters with police.

In a statement to WBKO, a spokesperson for Paul contended that Kentuckians would reject Booker’s campaign platform.

“Kentuckians know there is no greater champion for the values they hold dear than Dr. Rand Paul, and like President Trump stated in his recent endorsement, Dr. Paul has a proven record of fighting the liberal Washington agenda. Kentuckians don’t want to defund the police, to ban the lawful ownership of guns, or Nancy Pelosi’s Green New Deal,” said the spokesperson.

Tags 2022 midterm elections Amy McGrath Charles Booker Donald Trump Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi Rand Paul

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