Kentucky Democrat says primary challenge to McGrath 'might be helpful'

Rep. John YarmuthJohn Allen YarmuthThe House Democrats who voted to kill impeachment effort House votes to kill impeachment effort against Trump The Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment MORE, the lone Democrat representing Kentucky in Congress, said it "might be helpful" for Senate candidate Amy McGrath (D) to have a primary challenger after she initially said in a recent interview she would have voted to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughLiberal, conservative Supreme Court justices unite in praising Stevens The Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment Former Justice John Paul Stevens dies at age 99 MORE

"It could have gone smoother," Yarmuth told the Courier Journal on Thursday. "By her own admission she made a pretty significant mistake and corrected it. I hope she prepares a little bit better for the rest of the campaign, I'm sure she will."


He added that a primary challenge "might be helpful," arguing that "whoever is going to face off against Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell: Trump 'on to something' with attacks on Dem congresswomen Dems open to killing filibuster in next Congress Senate passes bill making hacking voting systems a federal crime MORE really needs to get their game in shape. Certainly Amy would be a favorite in any kind of primary, but I think it would help her and if somebody else could beat her they would have demonstrated their strength as well."

In a statement, McGrath's campaign said no one was "entitled" to the party's nomination.

"Amy won her congressional primary last year by defeating the DCCC's candidate. No one is entitled to the nomination. You have to earn it by having the courage to jump in, make your case to the voters, and energize the electorate behind your candidacy," campaign manager Mark Nickolas told The Hill.

"Based on the record-breaking response from Amy's announcement this week, we're off to quite a start. If others think they're stronger, no one is stopping them from getting in."

While McGrath’s recent announcement of her challenge to McConnell garnered media attention and a sizable early fundraising haul, the reversal of her stance on Kavanaugh left her supporters scratching their heads.

McGrath initially told the news outlet Wednesday "I don't think there was anything that would have disqualified him in my mind,” referring to Kavanaugh's controversial confirmation after being accused of sexual assault while in high school by then-classmate Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.

"I think it's credible, but given the amount of time that lapsed in between and from a judicial standpoint, I don't think it would really disqualify him," McGrath said.

Later Wednesday, the former fighter pilot backtracked and posted a tweet clarifying her stance.

"I was asked earlier today about Judge Brett Kavanaugh and I answered based upon his qualifications to be on the Supreme Court. But upon further reflection and further understanding of his record, I would have voted no," McGrath tweeted.

Kavanaugh was ultimately confirmed by the Senate in a 50-48 vote, with Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinDems open to killing filibuster in next Congress Trump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand Kentucky Democrat says primary challenge to McGrath 'might be helpful' MORE (W.Va.) being the only Democrat to vote in his favor.

Updated 8:20 p.m.