Former Kentucky State Representative Charles Booker has announced that he will challenge Senator Rand Paul in November 2022. Last year, Booker ran for a seat in the United States Senate, but he fell short against Amy McGrath in the Democratic Primary. McGrath would go on to earn 38% of the popular vote, but she lost to current Sen. Mitch McConnell. This time around, Booker is hopeful that he can advance past the primary and defeat Paul in the general election next fall.
“As we go into this day where we celebrate our independence, let’s commit to making it mean something,” Booker said.
“And I’m not just asking that of you. I’m going to lead by example. And it’s with that understanding that we have to lead ourselves that I’m going to run for United States Senate.”
Booker is the first Democrat to formally challenge Paul during the upcoming election cycle. The only other candidate that has been rumored to challenge Paul is former state House Minority Leader Rocky Adkins.
Both Adkins and Booker will face a steep uphill challenge against Paul. In 2020, Democrats hoped a well-supported campaign from McGrath would help flip half off the state blue, but she lost by nearly 20 points in November. McConnell's conservative counterpart, Paul, has also experienced similar success against Democrats. In 2016, Paul defeated Jim Gray by 15% of the popular vote.
In the event Booker is able to pull off the upset, he would be one of only three Black lawmakers in the U.S Senate. At 37 years old, he would also be the youngest Black Senator by nearly 15 years.
The general Senate election in Kentucky has been set for November 8, 2022. However, the Democratic Party has not shared a date for their primary election.