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Kentucky Democrat announces challenge to McConnell

Retired Marine and previous Democratic congressional candidate Amy McGrath on Tuesday announced that she is launching a 2020 challenge against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump ramps up battle with Republican leadership RNC fires back at Trump, says it 'has every right' to use his name in fundraising appeals Blunt retirement shakes up Missouri Senate race MORE (R) in Kentucky.

McGrath released a three-minute campaign video, titled "The Letter," that depicts her and other Kentuckians writing letters to their senator with concerns about health care, jobs and affordable college that were ignored. 

“Everything that’s wrong in Washington had to start some place. How did it come to this?” McGrath said in the video. “That even within our own families, we can’t talk to each other about the leaders of our country anymore without anger and blame.”

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She said McConnell “was elected a lifetime ago" and has "bit by bit, year by year — turned Washington into something we all despise.”

McGrath also claimed that “budgets and health care and the Supreme Court are held hostage” in a Congress led by the Republican leader who has been in the Senate since 1985.

“A place where ideals go to die,” she added.

“The challenge of today is inside each of us. How do we reconcile our belief in basic human decency with our anger at those who block progress at all costs?” McGrath asked in the campaign video. “There is a path to resetting our country's moral compass, where each of us is heard and we can become, once again, the moral and economic leader of a world in disarray.”

McGrath was one of the most prominent Democratic congressional candidates during last year's midterm elections. The former fighter pilot was one of the top fundraisers of the cycle and narrowly lost her bid to unseat Rep. Andy BarrAndy BarrFinancial regulators home in on climate risks House Republicans who didn't sign onto the Texas lawsuit OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Energy issues rule allowing companies to develop own efficiency tests for products | GOP lawmakers push back on Federal Reserve's climate risk efforts MORE (R) in Kentucky's 6th Congressional District.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerManchin firm on support for filibuster, mulls making it 'a little bit more painful' to use Biden takes victory lap after Senate passes coronavirus relief package Lawmakers demand changes after National Guard troops at Capitol sickened from tainted food MORE (D-N.Y.) reportedly met with her at Democratic Party headquarters earlier this year to pitch her on the idea of launching a Senate bid against McConnell.

Kevin Golden, a spokesman for McConnell’s re-election campaign, knocked McGrath as an “extreme liberal who is far out of touch with Kentuckians.” 

“Comparing President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump vows 'No more money for RINOS,' instead encouraging donations to his PAC Federal judge rules 'QAnon shaman' too dangerous to be released from jail Pelosi says Capitol riot was one of the most difficult moments of her career MORE’s election to 9/11, endorsing a government takeover of healthcare, and calling the wall ‘stupid’ is a heckuva platform that we will be delighted to discuss over the next sixteen months,” Golden said in a statement. 

Jesse Hunt, a spokesperson for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, mocked McGrath’s entry into the race.

“Amy McGrath blew a suburban KY House race in 2018 despite spending huge amounts of money. Statewide in 2020 against @Team_Mitch will be infinitely more difficult,” Hunt wrote. “Why? She’s still the same person who called herself 'the most progressive person in Kentucky.'”

--Updated July 9 at 10:12 a.m.