Happy July. We’re now just four months away from the general election, and June ended with some significant primaries. The most notable was probably the Kentucky Democratic primary to find a candidate to go against Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell. It started out looking like Amy McGrath could unseat McConnell. She’s a serious, former Marine fighter pilot, who could not be easily dismissed in deep-red Kentucky.
McConnell is never very popular in his home state, partly because he is seen as being part of the Washington establishment, and not primarily interested in the State. He always begins a campaign as the underdog, but always wins comfortably. This year looked different. McGrath’s no-nonsense approach was liked, and since she seemed to have a chance to win, she got massive support from across the country.
McGrath, a former Marine fighter pilot who was backed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, had a superior organization and massive fundraising advantage that proved too much to overcome. She raised more than $40 million ahead of the primary, significantly outraising Booker and even McConnell.
Her primary opponent was Charles Booker, a first-term state representative.
“We went from being down 50 points in the polls to falling just short of a tie. While I’m disappointed, I’m so proud of us, and I’m still hopeful,” Booker said. . .
Booker’s rise began late last month as he took part in protests against police brutality in his hometown of Louisville. Major leaders from the party’s left wing, from Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, endorsed him in the closing weeks. He already had support from state legislators and other Kentucky Democrats, but more in-state supporters jumped off the sidelines down the stretch.
McGrath, who was gliding to her win, was blindsided by the last-minute, liberal challenger. At one point, she was asked if she participated in the George Floyd protests, and she was caught flat-footed. First, she said she was home with her family, then said she stayed home because of Covid-19. It made her look disengaged from current issues.
The unexpectedly competitive race was so close that it took a week to declare a winner.
McGrath had 45 percent of the vote, compared to 43 percent for Booker when The Associated Press called the race on Tuesday — a week after the primary, which saw historic turnout and significant use of absentee ballots.
Also Tuesday, we learned that Joe Biden now has the committed delegates he needs to win the nomination for president, with the New York primary giving him a total of 2196 delegates, to Bernie Sanders’ 1047.
There was also excitement in Colorado. Former Governor John Hickenlooper decided to run for the Senate seat currently held by Republican Cory Gardner. Hickenlooper was seen as a shoo-in for the nomination, but then stumbled.
Former Gov. John Hickenlooper was supposed to be Democrats’ worry-free solution to the Colorado Senate race, but he’s stumbled badly in the weeks leading up to the party’s June 30 primary.
Hickenlooper defied a subpoena from the Colorado Ethics Commission, only testifying after the nonpartisan panel found him in contempt. Then the commission found he’d violated state ethics laws by accepting free travel while governor.
Meanwhile, as protests raged over police violence against black people, Hickenlooper garbled his explanation of the key activist phrase “Black Lives Matter” and had to apologize for a 6-year-old quip in which he compared politicians to slaves “on an ancient slave ship” being whipped to row faster. . .
Meanwhile, as protests erupted over the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, Hickenlooper was asked during an online forum what “Black Lives Matter” means to him. He said it meant “every life matters” — a phrase many activists see as dismissive of their efforts to focus on discrimination against black people. Hickenlooper quickly apologized and said he “tripped” in his explanation.
While “All Lives Matter” sounds like a reasonable reply, akin to, “I don’t see color,” in the context of “Black Lives Matter,” it is heard in reply as, “No, they don’t.” The saying, “Black Lives Matter,” really means, “stop killing us.” But it may not be critical in Colorado, which is only four-percent Black, but it should be noted that the current protests involve more White people than Black.
In the end, Hickenlooper easily won, 60 to 40 percent.
The biggest surprise of the night was also in Colorado, with the loss of a Republican incumbent, Rep. Scott Tipton, who had been endorsed by Donald Trump, according to The Hill.
Gun rights activist Lauren Boebert defeated Rep. Scott Tipton (R) in a Republican primary, delivering a surprise upset over the five-term lawmaker. Boebert gained national recognition for her ownership of Shooters Grill, a restaurant that drew headlines for allowing its waiting staff to openly carry firearms. . .
Tipton, who was endorsed by President Trump, is now the third GOP lawmaker to be defeated this cycle after Rep. Steve King (Iowa) and Rep. Denver Riggleman (Va.). Riggleman was defeated by Republican Bob Good at a party convention rather than a primary.
Boebert is a proponent of the QAnon conspiracy theory, as described by Fox News.
QAnon is a conspiracy theory centered on the baseless belief that President Trump is waging a secret campaign against enemies in the “deep state” and a child sex trafficking ring run by satanic pedophiles and cannibals.
Q and the QAnon supporters refer to “The Storm” often, which is a reference to an October 2017 meeting between Trump and military leaders during which Trump said, “the calm before the storm.” During the so-called “storm” thousands of deep state operatives and top Democrats, including Hillary Clinton and President Obama, will allegedly be rounded up and sent to Guantanamo Bay.
Elsewhere, Republican Senator Inhofe didn’t surprise anyone by receiving three-fourths of the Republican vote in his primary, in Oklahoma.
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R) won Oklahoma’s Republican Senate primary on Tuesday, leaving him well placed to get reelected for a sixth term in November in the safe red state.
Inhofe, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, defeated three other Republicans. . .He will be the heavy favorite to win reelection in November after last winning by about 40 points.
Inhofe is in the news this week for demanding more information about reports that Russia is paying Taliban fighters in Afghanistan to kill American soldiers, according to the Washington Times.
The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Monday suggested a “strong response” if reports that Russian agents offered bounties to Afghan militants to kill U.S. soldiers are credible. . .
Sen. James Inhofe, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, tweeted Monday morning that “if the allegations reported in the New York Times are true, I will work with President Trump on a strong response.”
“We’ve known for a long time that Putin is a thug and a murderer,” the Oklahoma Republican said. “My number-one priority is the safety of our troops.”
Mr. Inhofe said he has called on the White House to share what it knows on the matter and said he expects to know more in the coming days.
It should be noted that this is not an attack on Trump. Inhofe has a 92.6% voting record
of voting for Trump’s issues. Only Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Kelly Loeffler of Georgia have voted with Trump 100% of the time.