McConnell-McGrath Senate race headlines Kentucky ballot – Associated Press

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the chief congressional ally to President Donald Trump, seeks a seventh term Tuesday as his hard-hitting, mega-spending race against Democrat Amy McGrath headlines the general election in the Bluegrass State.

More than 1.5 million ballots were already cast in Kentucky during weeks of mail-in and early in-person voting because of the coronavirus pandemic, leading up to actual Election Day balloting.

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Topping the ballot is the presidential race between the Republican incumbent Trump and Democrat Joe Biden, while down-ballot contests include races for Congress and the legislature. The 6th District lived up to its battleground reputation as Republican U.S. Rep. Andy Barr sought to fend off a challenge from Democrat Josh Hicks.

The Senate race dominated statewide airwaves as McConnell and McGrath offered stark contrasts.

McConnell, 78, the longest-serving U.S. senator in Kentucky history, said his leadership post enables him to deliver federal money and to craft policy benefiting the state. McGrath, 45, is a term-limits advocate who said McConnell has lost touch with constituents and has come to represent all that’s wrong with Washington.

Both Senate candidates poured tens of millions of campaign funds into a race that was influenced by the COVID-19 outbreak. The federal response to the public heath crisis became a flash point. McGrath faulted McConnell for the lack of another federal virus relief package in the weeks before the election. McConnell blamed Democrats and touted his role in passing a $2 trillion virus aid bill early in the pandemic that delivered more than $13 billion for Kentucky.

Barr faced a strong challenge from Hicks. Barr’s fellow Kentucky Republicans seeking reelection to Congress were Hal Rogers, James Comer, Brett Guthrie and Thomas Massie. The only Democrat in the state’s congressional delegation, John Yarmuth, also was seeking another term.

In legislative races, Republicans looked to maintain overwhelming majorities in the state Senate and House, while Democrats hoped to make inroads on the strength of suburban support.

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Find AP’s full election coverage at APNews.com/Election2020.

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