Amy McGrath soars to victory over Jim Gray in Kentucky. Battle with Andy Barr is next. | Lexington Herald Leader

kentucky | 5/22/2018 | Staff
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Former fighter pilot Amy McGrath surged to victory over Lexington Mayor Jim Gray Tuesday in the Democratic primary for Kentucky's 6th Congressional District, setting up a November election that will attract national money and attention as Democrats try to make Kentucky part of a possible blue wave in 2018.

"Can you believe this?" McGrath asked the crowd at her victory party in Richmond. "What happened tonight was amazing. I couldn't be more humbled and more honored to be standing here tonight as your nominee."

Candidate - Moment - Fighter - Pilot - Woman

She is a candidate who fits the Democratic moment. The former fighter pilot — the first woman Marine to fly into combat in an F-18 — is a political newcomer at a time Democrats across the country are looking for a fresh response to the 2016 election of President Donald Trump.

There are no women in Kentucky's congressional delegation.

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Gray - Front-runner - Race - December - Months

Gray was widely perceived as the front-runner when he entered the race last December after months of encouragement from national Democrats. That encouragement was quickly used by McGrath’s campaign to paint Lexington's first openly gay mayor as the establishment candidate, a definition he was never able to shake.

Andy Barr, R-Lexington, coasted to victory over his primary opponent, Chuck Eddy, a self-defined moderate Republican who ran a limited campaign, setting up what’s expected to be a competitive and expensive general election in the fall.

McGrath - Lot - Attention - People - Candidacy

“McGrath already drew a lot of positive attention nationwide by people drawn by her candidacy,” said Stephen Voss, a political science professor at the University of Kentucky. “I expect a lot of money and support to flow into her campaign in the days ahead.”

That money will...
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