Tis’ the season for viral introductory campaign ads. Last month it was Wisconsin ironworker Randy Bryce. Next up: Amy McGrath, a Kentucky Democrat and former F-18 fighter pilot running for Congress against Republican Rep. Andy Barr. You’ve likely never heard of McGrath, but once you watch this spot, you’ll remember it for quite a while:
McGrath, a Naval Academy graduate, is part of a wave of Democratic military veterans vying for Republican-held seats in Congress next year, a trend that recalls the boomlet of Iraq and Afghanistan vets who powered Democratic gains in 2006 and 2008. But notably, she also throws a hard left hook at Barr and his colleagues’ recent efforts to undo Obamacare and leave 250,000 Kentuckians without health insurance. Fourteen months out, the battle lines of the 2018 midterms are quite clear.
Democrats have a glut of candidates in places such as Southern California and Texas suburbs, where Trump turned long-conservative areas blue. But they likely won’t be able to win back the House without also bucking the trend in places that look nothing like Orange County—places like Kentucky.
It’s notable then that McGrath isn’t the only serious Democrat in this race: State Sen. Reggie Thomas launched his bid last month, and a few other names are in the mix. Although Kentucky’s 6th District has been trending Republican over the past decade—Hillary Clinton lost it by 15 points last fall—Democratic candidates for governor and US Senate have both carried the district in recent years. It wasn’t so long ago (okay, 2012) that the area was represented by a Democrat, Rep. Ben Chandler. McGrath is still a long shot, but then again, Donald Trump was just elected president.