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Charles Booker endorsed by progressive Working Families Party in Kentucky Senate race

Charles Booker endorsed by progressive Working Families Party in Kentucky Senate race
© Courtesy Booker Campaign

Kentucky state Rep. Charles Booker, the progressive Democrat looking to face Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief Boehner book jacket teases slams against Cruz, Trump Gun violence prevention groups optimistic background check legislation can pass this Congress MORE (R-Ky.) in the fall, picked up an endorsement from the Working Families Party on Tuesday.

The Working Families Party touted Booker as a “grassroots champion of core progressive policies” and a leader in the local Black Lives Matter movement. 

"It’s no surprise that Rep. Booker has completely changed the conversation around who can beat Mitch McConnell," Maurice Mitchell, national director of the Working Families Party, said in the endorsement. 

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"Booker's leadership in the fight to defend Black lives, especially in the aftermath of Breonna Taylor's murder, proves he is a leader who can meet the moment,” Mitchell added, referencing the black woman who was fatally shot by police in her Louisville residence.

“He speaks authentically about the needs of working families, and proposes bold, transformative solutions. We are proud to have Charles’s back in 2020 through the Democratic primary, the general election, and beyond,” he said.

Booker is one of several Democrats running in the Kentucky primary on June 23, including Amy McGrath, a candidate backed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC). 

Booker has gained momentum in recent weeks, earning endorsements from high-profile progressive lawmakers Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersIntercept bureau chief: minimum wage was not 'high priority' for Biden in COVID-19 relief Murkowski never told White House she would oppose Tanden Tanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief MORE (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - J&J vax rollout today; third woman accuses Cuomo 'Lucky': Inside Ocasio-Cortez's endorsement of Sanders Biden officials urge patience on immigration amid border surge MORE (D-N.Y.), as well as from Kentucky newspapers

Booker hasn’t shied away from embracing a progressive platform while running for statewide office in a typically red state. 

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He’s accused McGrath, a more moderate Democratic candidate, of identifying herself as a “pro-Trump Democrat,” a characterization the Working Families Party echoed in its endorsement of Booker. 

The McGrath campaign pushed back on Booker’s assertion that McGrath, a retired Marine Corps fighter pilot, described herself that way. 

“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 last week. “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.”

The Democrat who wins the primary will have a tough battle facing McConnell in November. The Cook Political Report rates the race “likely Republican.”