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McGrath Pressed to Donate Millions in Surplus Cash to Defeating McConnell if She Loses the Primary

06/18/2020

Sunrise Movement, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, The Collective, Working Families Party, Indivisible

With a new poll showing Charles Booker leading Amy McGrath by 8% in Kentucky's U.S. Senate Democratic primary, progressive organizations are calling on McGrath to donate millions in surplus cash to defeating Senator Mitch McConnell if she loses the primary.

Data For Progress, a pollster with one of the most accurate track records, released data Thursday that shows Booker leading McGrath 44% to 36% and doing 6% better than McGrath against McConnell in the general election.

"Thousands of our members donated to Amy McGrath early on -- not because they love her, but because she was assumed to be the Democratic nominee," said Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which raised $21,000 for McGrath via 2,500 donations the first month of her campaign, before endorsing Booker last week and raising him nearly that amount. "Donors don't want their money going into a slush fund for McGrath’s future campaigns or to bonuses for losing consultants. They don't even want their money returned. They want to defeat one of the worst senators in history, Mitch McConnell."

According to June 3 financial disclosures, McGrath had over $19 million in unspent funds stashed away in a campaign warchest. 

"People across America gave millions to Amy McGrath trusting that their money would be spent ousting Mitch McConnell," said Joe Dinkin, Working Families Party campaigns director. "As the race tightens, McGrath owes her contributors an assurance that she'll use their funds to take on the obstructionist Senate Majority Leader no matter who wins on Tuesday. We hope Amy will do the right thing and take the pledge."

Legally, if McGrath were to lose, she could use excess cash raised for the primary on independent expenditures to defeat McConnell -- running one herself or donating to other independent efforts. All grassroots donations of $2,800 or less count as primary election funds. She would be required to return general election money to donors, but that is estimated to be less than $2 million of her cash and could be accompanied with a note urging donors to support anti-McConnell efforts.

“McGrath raised a ton of cash attempting to buy this primary, much from corporate PACs. She then took Kentucky voters so much for granted that she didn’t even spend millions of it,” said Evan Weber, political director for the Sunrise Movement, an early endorser of Booker. “To be doubly presumptuous, she’s been raising for the general election as if everything was locked up. Well, that looks increasingly wrong. She should commit to using her excess millions to defeat McConnell when she loses the primary.”

“Once again we are proving that Black candidates can win with a compelling story, message and commitment to the voters they represent,” said Quentin James, Founder and President of The Collective, which is working to ensure Black voices are fully represented at the ballot box and in government. “Today’s poll shows Kentucky and America that change in Washington is being ushered in and that the future is led by talented candidates like Charles Booker. He can bring about the change we seek by eliminating inequality and creating communities where everyone has a chance to succeed. We will continue to support him throughout this election season and look forward to defeating Moscow Mitch in November.”

"Charles Booker has built the type of multi-racial grassroots coalition that is the only way we stand a chance of beating Mitch McConnell in November. As Democrats, we need to be united in our shared goal of defeating the Senate Majority leader, and we urge Amy McGrath to publicly state her commitment to do everything she can to support the eventual nominee," said Lucy Solomon, Indivisible IE Political Director.

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