/McGrath raises $2.5 million in first day after announcing McConnell challenge

McGrath raises $2.5 million in first day after announcing McConnell challenge

Amy McGrath

Amy McGrath, a former fighter pilot who lost a House race in 2018, announced the challenge to Mitch McConnell Tuesday morning. | Bryan Woolston/AP Photo

Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Amy McGrath raised more than $2.5 million in the first 24 hours after announcing she was challenging Majority Leader Mitch McConnell next year, her campaign confirmed today.

McGrath, a former fighter pilot who lost a House race in 2018, announced the challenge to McConnell Tuesday morning and followed with a media blitz, appearing on multiple cable news outlets throughout the day. Her campaign said the initial fundraising haul included only online donations, with an average donation size of $36. The campaign said it was the most ever raised by a Senate campaign in its first day.

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The first-day fundraising is a sign both of McGrath’s appeal to small-dollar donors — she raised more than $8 million for her House race last year — and the Democratic Party’s energy to make the race against McConnell competitive.

NBC News first reported McGrath’s fundraising.

The Kentucky race promises to be one of the most expensive in the nation next year, though McGrath faces an extremely difficult challenge in unseating McConnell in a state that favored President Donald Trump by nearly 30 percentage points in 2016. McConnell, as the leader of his party in the Senate, has a vast fundraising network. He raised and spent more than $30 million in 2014 for his last reelection campaign, a race he won by 15 percentage points.

McConnell has not released his fundraising totals for the second quarter of this year — his report is due to the Federal Election Commission on July 15 — but his campaign had more than $5.5 million on hand at the end of March.

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