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Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez endorse progressive Democrat running against McGrath in Kentucky Senate primary

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden pushing to cancel Keystone XL pipeline as soon as he takes office: reports Biden tax-hike proposals face bumpy road ahead Senate Democrats leery of nixing filibuster MORE (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez: Facebook, Zuckerberg 'bear partial responsibility' for insurrection Belfast's Troubles echo in today's Washington AOC's Ministry of Truth MORE (D-N.Y.), two leading progressives in the Democratic Party, announced Tuesday that they are endorsing Kentucky state Rep. Charles Booker (D) in the Kentucky Senate primary race. 

Booker is one of several Democrats running in the Kentucky primary — including Amy McGrath, a candidate backed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) — to challenge Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellWhat would MLK say about Trump and the Republican Party? Biden's minimum wage push faces uphill battle with GOP GOP senators wrestle with purging Trump from party MORE (R-Ky.). 

“As Louisville has become an epicenter of national tragedy and protesters due to the police murders of Breonna Taylor and David McAtee, Charles has shown leadership by showing up on the frontlines,” Sanders said in an email to supporters, noting two black Louisville residents killed by police. 

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Sanders also noted Booker’s support for “progressive policies such as criminal justice reform, Medicare for All, and getting big money out of politics.” 

Ocasio-Cortez said Booker is “building the kind of principled, inclusive and winning coalition in Kentucky that can inspire positive change.” 

“The US Senate will be a better place with him in it. I’m proud to endorse him,” she tweeted. 

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Booker’s campaign highlighted the endorsements as evidence that momentum is continuing to build for the progressive candidate’s campaign. 

“Kentucky is ready to lead, and the country is standing behind us. These endorsements are further proof that our vision to end poverty, lead on structural change, and uplift all people is the right message at the right time,” Booker said in a statement. “We will win this primary, beat Mitch McConnell, and transform our future.”

In the primary, Booker is facing McGrath, a retired Marine Corps fighter pilot who has raised millions of dollars for her campaign. The DSCC endorsed McGrath in February. 

McGrath is running on a more moderate agenda than Booker. 

Booker accused McGrath of identifying herself as a “pro-Trump Democrat” and said she “doesn’t have a clue about the challenges we face,” in an interview Monday night with MSNBC. 

The McGrath campaign pushed back on Booker’s assertion that she described herself as a “pro-Trump Democrat.” 

“Lt. Col. Amy McGrath has said she would work with any president, whether that person has a red jersey or a blue jersey, to do what's right for Kentucky and do what's right for the country,” a campaign spokesperson said in a statement. “Likewise, she will stand up to any president of either political party if they act in a way that would harm Kentucky or the country.”