FRANKFORT, Ky. — Democrat Charles Booker, who nearly pulled off an upset in last year’s Senate primary, said he’s “strongly considering” another run for the Senate against Republican Rand Paul.
Booker, a Black former state lawmaker from Louisville, returned to progressive ideas such as a universal basic income and universal health care as he raised the prospect of mounting a 2022 campaign.
“I’m strongly considering a run for the United States Senate in 2022 because I believe our work is not done and we have the ability to tell a new story for Kentucky,” Booker said Sunday on Kentucky Educational Television.
Booker said he’ll decide soon whether to enter the campaign.
Booker seized momentum late in last year’s Democratic Senate primary on the strength of a “Hood to the Holler” campaign that highlighted the common interests of Black Democrats in the cities and middle- and low-income white people in the mountains of eastern Kentucky — which he collectively has defined as “people in forgotten places.” His effort caught fire late in the campaign but fell just short and he lost to Amy McGrath, who had significant financial support from beyond the state’s borders. McGrath lost to Republican Mitch McConnell in November.
Booker would face an uphill fight against Paul in Republican-trending Kentucky. Paul, a former presidential candidate, is a libertarian-leaning Republican with a strong national brand.
After his primary loss, Booker created the Hood to the Holler advocacy group to help build rural-urban coalitions on health care and anti-poverty issues.
“Those things aren’t partisan,” Booker said. “We just allow national politics to dictate the narrative, and people like Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul have told us we’re divided.”