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McConnell's 2014 challenger endorses Charles Booker in Senate race

McConnell's 2014 challenger endorses Charles Booker in Senate race
© Courtesy Booker Campaign

Alison Lundergan Grimes, the former Kentucky secretary of State who unsuccessfully challenged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellJudiciary Committee greenlights Garland's AG nomination This week: Senate takes up coronavirus relief after minimum wage setback Juan Williams: Hypocrisy runs riot in GOP MORE (R-Ky.) for his seat in 2014, endorsed state Rep. Charles Booker’s bid for the Democratic Senate nomination on Tuesday.

“Proud to endorse my friend @Booker4KY for U.S. Senate in the Kentucky Democratic Primary!” Grimes tweeted. “Together, let’s elect a new generation of leadership in KY!”

Booker, a first-term state representative, has racked up several high-profile endorsements in recent weeks in his bid to take on McConnell in November, including from Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOn The Money: Senators push for changes as chamber nears vote on .9T relief bill | Warren offers bill to create wealth tax Sanders vows to force vote on minimum wage No. 2 Senate Democrat shoots down overruling parliamentarian on minimum wage MORE (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezBiden officials urge patience on immigration amid border surge Clinton: Allegations against Cuomo 'raise serious questions,' deserve probe Ocasio-Cortez: wage only 'socialist' to those in 'dystopian capitalist nightmare' MORE (D-N.Y.), two of the most prominent progressives in Congress.

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Booker has also scored endorsements from Kentucky’s two largest newspapers, the Louisville Courier Journal and Lexington Herald-Leader.

The endorsements are at odds with Senate Democratic leaders in Washington, who recruited and have thrown their support behind Amy McGrath, a former Marine fighter pilot who ran unsuccessfully against 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-Ky.) in Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District in 2018.

McGrath has proven to be adept at fundraising and has a staggering financial advantage over other candidates in the race, Democrat or Republican. Her latest fundraising report, covering the stretch between April 1 and June 3, showed her raking in nearly $11.3 million. She has more than $19.3 million in cash on hand.

By comparison, Booker brought in about $476,000 during the same two-month period and finished with only about $285,000 in the bank.

Despite the massive financial gap between McGrath and Booker, the freshman state lawmaker has gained considerable momentum in recent weeks and has emerged as a serious force in Kentucky’s June 23 primary.