McConnell easily wins Kentucky Senate primary

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHouse to resume mask mandate after new CDC guidance Five takeaways from a bracing day of Jan. 6 testimony McCarthy, McConnell say they didn't watch Jan. 6 hearing MORE won the GOP Senate primary in Kentucky on Tuesday as he seeks his seventh term in the upper chamber.

McConnell easily dispatched a crowded field of Republicans challenging him for the nomination, leading with 87 percent of the vote after 7 percent of precincts had reported, according to The Associated Press. None of McConnell's rivals had close to his name recognition or fundraising.

McConnell has emerged as a top target for Democrats over his refusal to consider a litany of Democratic measures that have passed the House and his strong support for President TrumpDonald TrumpRealClearPolitics reporter says Freedom Caucus shows how much GOP changed under Trump Jake Ellzey defeats Trump-backed candidate in Texas House runoff DOJ declines to back Mo Brooks's defense against Swalwell's Capitol riot lawsuit MORE's agenda.

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McConnell also angered Democrats after refusing to set a confirmation hearing for Merrick GarlandMerrick GarlandProtesters shut down Greene-Gaetz Jan. 6 event Cheney calls Gaetz, Greene DOJ protest a 'disgrace' Has Trump beaten the system? MORE, who was selected by former President Obama in 2016 to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Since his election, Trump has appointed two Supreme Court Justices: Neil GorsuchNeil GorsuchNo reason to pack the court Democrats under new pressure to break voting rights stalemate Trump 'very disappointed' in Kavanaugh votes: 'Where would he be without me?' MORE, who replaced Scalia, and Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughMurkowski leans into record ahead of potentially bruising reelection bid Want to evaluate Donald Trump's judgment? Listen to Donald Trump Kavanaugh conspiracy? Demands to reopen investigation ignore both facts and the law MORE, who replaced retired Justice Anthony Kennedy. 

McConnell will face either Amy McGrath or progressive state Rep. Charles Booker (D) in November, depending on who wins the Democratic primary. That race has gotten increasingly close as Booker has seen a surge in support amid nationwide protests against police brutality and systemic racism. 

Still, the Kentucky Republican is expected to withstand a challenge from either Democrat, particularly given his hefty campaign bank account and Kentucky's red hue.

The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election handicapper, rates the race as "Likely Republican."

Kentucky’s primaries were originally scheduled for May 19 but were moved to June 23 because of the coronavirus pandemic. The state, like others around the country, has seen a surge in mailed-in ballots.