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Democrats, Lexington Council Hopefuls Reset For November

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AP Photo/Bryan Woolston
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Kentucky Democrats now have a challenger for Senator Mitch McConnell — and a new state senator — after Tuesday's unofficial primary results rolled in.

It was a contest that appeared locked up for retired Marine pilot Amy McGrath until COVID-19 and a wave of protests for racial justice scrambled expectations. Still, Tuesday's unofficial vote counts saw McGrath grabbing just enough support to best Rep. Charles Booker, 45 to 43 percent.

In a statement, McGrath said the task for Democrats now is to unify heading into November.

One race already decided in a special election was for Republican Ernie Harris's vacated District 26 Senate seat — with minority Democrats picking up a rare win in the chamber. Physician Karen Berg cruised to victory over Republican Bill Ferko.

Meanwhile, in Lexington, just 26 votes separated the top two vote-getters in the city's 3rd District council race. Jessica Mohler and Hannah LeGris will move on to the general election. And in the 9tth District, a familiar face in Lexington city government, former councilman Willy Fogle came in first with Whitney Elliott Baxter finishing second.

The results still leave one lingering question — exactly what the November election will look like. While the primaries mostly relied on mail-in voting, Secretary of State Michael Adams said the option is expensive and there could be changes before the general.

"If we're looking to reduce crowds at polling sites, it might be cheaper and more efficient to have expanded early voting like we did for this election, as opposed to the mail-in," the Republican said.

Although Booker's campaign conceded the race to McGrath Tuesday, the young lawmaker did so adding that his campaign had heard from voters who had trouble with the new system and his team had unsuccessfully sought legal remedies. He promised to push in the coming days to ensure "transparency and accountability" in the state's electoral system.

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