Chuck Schumer is actively recruiting a celebrated fighter pilot to tackle Mitch McConnell in 2020 — a calculated act of aggression in opposition to a number one Democratic foe.
Schumer met with Amy McGrath, a Marine veteran-turned 2018 congressional candidate, at Democratic Celebration headquarters final month to pitch her on operating in opposition to McConnell. McGrath listened and didn’t rule it out. The Democratic chief first contacted McGrath in December.
McConnell, the longest-serving Senate GOP chief, is gearing up for a reelection combat and leaving little to probability. His political crew has begun compiling opposition analysis on McGrath and delving into monitoring footage of her. On Wednesday, senior Republican Celebration officers concerned with a pro-McConnell tremendous PAC will meet in Washington to start mapping out a possible marketing campaign in opposition to McGrath.
The Republican chief has additionally tapped a 2020 marketing campaign supervisor: Kevin Golden, a veteran get together operative who labored on McConnell’s 2014 reelection bid and oversaw Tennessee Republican Marsha Blackburn’s profitable 2018 Senate marketing campaign.
Schumer’s offensive underscores the frayed relations between the 2 Senate leaders. In current months, the they’ve sparred bitterly on points starting from judicial nominees to the federal shutdown.
Whereas it’s not unprecedented for one Senate chief to attempt to unseat a counterpart, the recruitment mission is an unmistakable act of hostility that’s positive to ratchet up tensions.
Becoming a member of Schumer for the assembly with McGrath had been Democratic Senatorial Marketing campaign Committee Chairwoman Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), in addition to prime committee officers Scott Fairchild and Devan Barber. McGrath aides Mark Nickolas and Lori LaFave additionally attended.
Nickolas confirmed the assembly however mentioned that no resolution was imminent.
“The army officer in her at all times approaches this stuff fairly methodically and thoughtfully,” he mentioned.
Spokespersons for Schumer and the DSCC declined to touch upon the assembly.
McConnell’s crew has been making ready for months. Final yr, the marketing campaign tapped its first two officers, Shane Noem and Jonathan Shell.
McConnell aides have additionally examined McGrath’s unsuccessful 2018 bid, when GOP Rep. Andy Barr forged her as too liberal for the central Kentucky district. Aides to the Republican chief view the competition as a template for the way to defeat her in 2020.
McConnell, lengthy recognized for his bare-knuckled political techniques and encyclopedic information of Kentucky politics, monitored the race intently and supplied Barr recommendation.
As a part of their analysis into McGrath, which dates again to 2017, McConnell’s crew has been scrutinizing her previous statements and positions and searching into years of video footage of her.
The GOP chief can be activating the massive donor community he’s cultivated over his three-decade-plus Senate profession. And plans being drawn up for the pro-McConnell group Kentuckians for Robust Management. On Wednesday, Steven Regulation, Carl Forti, and Scott Jennings, senior get together strategists who’ve beforehand been concerned with the tremendous PAC, will maintain an organizational assembly to debate the trail ahead.
Except for the tremendous PAC, McConnell has gathered over $four million for his private marketing campaign checking account.
“The brilliance of McConnell’s campaigns are that they’re comprised of a fancy orchestra of political devices introduced collectively for a symphony of absolute destruction,” mentioned Josh Holmes, a McConnell political adviser.
McGrath was one of many highest-profile Democratic Home candidates of the 2018 election cycle. Initially rejected by Washington Democrats in favor of the better-known mayor of Lexington, Jim Grey, McGrath catapulted to a main victory on the energy of a viral biographical advert touting her profession as a Marine and groundbreaking fighter pilot.
In the end, the 44-year-old first time candidate was unable to parlay a multi-million-dollar struggle chest and nationwide profile into victory in a closely Republican district. She was narrowly defeated by Burr.
These near McGrath say that she’s remained undecided in regards to the race since assembly with Schumer final month.
McGrath isn’t the one potential candidate McConnell is making ready for. His crew has additionally been been assembling opposition analysis on Matt Jones, a liberal sports activities radio present host who’s lengthy been entertaining a bid for the seat.