Progressives in Kentucky may have something to cheer about with regards to next year’s U.S. Senate race against Moscow Mitch: Matt Jones has formed an exploratory committee.
Kentucky Sports Radio host Matt Jones is forming an exploratory committee for a potential U.S. Senate bid against Mitch McConnell in 2020.
Jones, a Democrat, told the Courier Journal he expects to come to a final decision on such a run after the election for statewide offices this November.
He said he will file the paperwork for the committee in the coming days. Forming the committee will allow him to raise money to conduct polling and research on a potential run but not engage in any overt campaign activities to ask for votes.
“I did want to move the ball forward, because I am very interested in the race,” said Jones, who has been considering a run for this seat since the beginning of the year. “And it's important for me to sort of take the next step.”
For more on Jones, here is a Tiger Beat on the Potomac article on him.
Many of you on Daily Kos are probably wondering, “Don’t the Kentucky Democrats already have a good candidate with Amy McGrath?” McGrath is a moderate. She tried to unseat Congressman Andy Barr in KY-6th last year, and she came close. McGrath actually showed up in counties where Democrats haven’t bothered to campaign in for years.
But McGrath damaged one of her greatest strengths — her authenticity — with her Senate campaign opening. As Philip Bailey of the Courier-Journal put it,
To say that Democrat Amy McGrath provided a master class in what not to do when starting a run for U.S. Senate would be kind…
The missteps were enough for U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, the state's most powerful Democrat, to invite a primary challenger. The congressman's son, Aaron, went further in the pages of his publication, the Louisville Eccentric Observer, explaining to readers “why her campaign is already over.”
McGrath has a good ad up about how Kentucky Coal miners who suffer from black lung have been abandoned by Moscow Mitch. And she has plenty of money and help from the establishment, so she is definitely not out of this race at all. But her stumble out of the starting gate provided an opportunity for others who do not want to coalesce around the establishment choice just yet.
To be honest, I cannot even remember if a progressive actually has ever won a state wide primary for U.S. Senate before. I may have missed one, but virtually all of the Democratic candidates that I recall were moderates on a good day to right of center on several other days. And since Wendell Ford retired (1998), there has not been one of those centrists who has won a U.S. Senate seat in Kentucky. If Jones decides to formally enter the race, I will have a progressive choice in the primary.
Here is hoping.