Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was projected to win his seventh term, defeating Democratic nominee Amy McGrath, according to The Associated Press.

McConnell, 78, is expected to seek reelection to his post as Senate GOP leader, regardless of whether the party is able to retain the Senate majority amid steep political headwinds.

McGrath, a former Marine fighter pilot, faced an uphill battle as she sought to unseat McConnell, who has been a top antagonist for national Democrats since he ascended to the GOP leader spot in 2007 and became the Senate majority leader at the start of 2015.

McGrath tried to paint McConnell as a symbol of Washington’s dysfunction during a global health pandemic that has seen Congress and the White House struggle to reach an agreement on another relief package despite a new wave of cases and a rocky economy.

But McConnell — long viewed with suspicion by his party’s base — benefited from his relationship with President Trump, who remains popular within the state. McConnell has touted his status as the only of the four congressional leaders not from New York or California, saying he’s helped Kentucky “punch above its weight” as he’s steered additional resources back to the state.

“I’m confident that I’m going to be successful. … I’ve made my case to the people of Kentucky, I think it’s a convincing case,” McConnell said during a recent campaign stop as he made his closing argument to voters. 

Democrats had hoped McConnell’s high disapproval numbers and the 2019 victory of Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear provided a pathway to toppling him. McGrath didn’t hurt for money, raising more than $88 million and spending more than $73.3 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, compared to McConnell’s $55.5 million and nearly $44 million in spending.

But McConnell maintained a steady lead in public polling and handicappers ranked the race as “likely Republican,” underscoring his front-runner status.

Tags 2020 election Amy McGrath Donald Trump Kentucky Mitch McConnell

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