Charles Booker (D-Ky.), who served in the House of Representatives from 2019-2021, has announced he will challenge Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) for his Senate seat. He is the first Democrat to announce a 2022 challenge to Paul, a hardline conservative.
“As we go into this day where we celebrate our independence, let’s commit to making it mean something,” Booker says in his announcement video. “And I’m not just asking that of you. I’m going to lead by example. And it’s with that understanding that we have to lead ourselves that I’m going to run for United States Senate.”
“The people of Kentucky are my family. One thing I was taught is that you fight for family. We can make freedom ring true, we can make it ring for everyone, we can make a future where Breonna’s door isn’t kicked in, we can make freedom mean that every community across Kentucky is thriving,” he adds.
Let’s make freedom ring. Real freedom, from the hood to the holler.
We can start by taking our seat back from Rand Paul.
I’m running. pic.twitter.com/Za7JJ1wz0D
— Charles Booker (@Booker4KY) July 1, 2021
Paul has served in the Senate since 2011 and was last re-elected in 2016 by a 15-point margin. Following Booker’s announcement, Paul released a statement criticizing Booker for his progressive values, which include supporting Medicare for All, criminal justice reform, a universal basic income, and the implementation of the Green New Deal.
“I just don’t think defunding the police and forcing taxpayers to pay for reparations will be very popular in Kentucky,” he said.
Travis Waldron, a reporter with The Huffington Post, had the early exclusive on Booker’s announcement.
“Democrats have not won a Senate race in Kentucky in three decades,” Waldron observes, noting that “Booker is among a group of Black Democratic Senate candidates that is only likely to grow in the coming months, as a national campaign apparatus that once viewed such candidates as too risky to run in statewide contests becomes more open and diverse, especially after Sen. Raphael Warnock’s win in Georgia earlier this year.”