Politics & Government

Another Democrat, a Kentucky farmer, will face McGrath in Senate primary

CAMPAIGN AD: Mike Broihier announces his run for Senate

Democrat Mike Broihier (pronounced Broy-er) entered the race for Senate with this campaign ad on YouTube. He will face Marine Corps pilot Amy McGrath in the primary in May 2020. The winner will seek to unseat Mitch McConnell.
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Democrat Mike Broihier (pronounced Broy-er) entered the race for Senate with this campaign ad on YouTube. He will face Marine Corps pilot Amy McGrath in the primary in May 2020. The winner will seek to unseat Mitch McConnell.

Another Democrat has announced he wants U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s seat.

Michael Broihier, a Marine Corps veteran and farmer from Lincoln County, announced in a three minute video Thursday morning that he’s running for U.S. Senate.

“I’m running for the people of Kentucky, because they deserve a Senator who has courage, courage and the commitment to lead,” Broihier told the Herald-Leader. “I don’t think Mitch McConnell’s doing that.”

Broihier, 57, enters the race as some Kentucky Democrats are clamoring for a challenger to former Marine Corps pilot Amy McGrath, who stumbled early after her campaign launch last week. Broihier said McGrath’s rocky start didn’t affect his decision to get into the race.

“No, not at all,” Broihier said, before adding a jab. “When I saw this roll-out, I did not recognize her from the campaign I saw last year that my wife and I supported.”

McGrath raised $3.5 million in the first 48 hours of her campaign, but also invited open speculation of primary opponents when she stumbled over whether she would have voted to confirm U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, telling reporters that she would have confirmed him in interviews before changing her answer later the same day.

The Kavanugh answer, combined with some backlash from Kentucky Democrats for saying McConnell was preventing President Donald Trump from draining the swamp, led to calls from some Democrats for people like Kentucky Sports Radio founder Matt Jones and House Minority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook, to enter the race. Rep. Charles Booker, D-Louisville has also said he’s considering running.

No prominent Democrats were calling for Broihier to run. A long shot candidate, he has never held public office, nor has he ever run a campaign.

His campaign manager, Kim Geveden, worked on former Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo’s 2010 U.S. Senate race, where he lost in the primary to former Attorney General Jack Conway. He’s also worked on statehouse races for rural Democrats like Rep. Chris Harris, D-Pikeville, and former Rep. Will Coursey, D-Symsonia.

Broihier, who has also worked as a substitute teacher and journalist at The Interior Journal, said he wants to run a race centered on economic justice, saying that rural communities have not been able to take advantage of a good economy.

“People in the rural areas, families in the rural areas, they’re just not enjoying the same economic boom the rest of the country is,” Broihier said. “I want to see economic justice for people of color, for women who to this day don’t see any pay equity.”

Broihier said he is trying to run a “no-labels” campaign, but said he would not have voted to confirm Kavanaugh (“I will not vote for a judge that does not acknowledge that Roe V. Wade was correctly decided”), said he supports the Paris Climate Accord to address climate change (“when you have big problems the earlier you start on them the better”), opposed the separation of immigrant families at the border (“appalling and un-American”), said he doesn’t support the idea of a massive raid to round up illegal immigrants (“I think it’s the leaders of the government threatening to use the government’s power to terrorize a group of people”) and said he supports universal background checks before someone can purchase a gun (“every common sense person I know believes in universal background checks”).

Broihier’s announcement video opens with a woman holding a chalkboard that says “bitch,” before he starts talking in a voiceover about how labels have been used to divide Kentuckians.

“Labels are powerful things. For 35 years, Mitch McConnell has used labels to reinforce old predjudices, to divide us, to maintain his grip on power,” Broihier said. “But we are more than a collection of labels, we are each unique.”

The video ends with Broihier acknowledging that some might call his bid for senate “naive” while wiping the word off a chalkboard. When asked why he is choosing to run for senate instead of starting with a local office, Broihier focused his answer on McConnell.

“It’s time to retire him,” Broihier said. “And I am the one most likely to win. I am very, very close to the people of Kentucky... I’m way closer to the people of Kentucky than Mitch McConnell is.”

Steven Cox, a healthcare professional is also running as a Democrat.