***For media inquiries only, contact campaign manager Mark Nickolas at email@example.com***
HEALTH CRISIS TURNED THIS TRUMP VOTER INTO A DEMOCRATIC SUPPORT
By Kyung Lah, CNN, Sep 26, 2018
David Hansen tried to get the words out. "I lost my health care," he began to say, his voice unexpectedly cracking, barely audible in the din of a people-packed and sweltering warehouse in Nicholasville, Kentucky. At 59, a US Navy veteran and registered Republican, Hansen lowered his head, unable to look at Democrat Amy McGrath, the congressional candidate headlining this political event in the small town outside Lexington.
A retired US Marine and a decade and a half his junior, McGrath put her hand on his shoulder.
Hansen had voted for Trump in 2016. He also voted for the Republican congressman for Kentucky's 6th Congressional District, Andy Barr. But Hansen's fortunes changed in 2017 after he had a stroke, an event so debilitating, he said, he couldn't work, losing his health care coverage. He said he now pays for outside insurance, even though he's entitled to get service from the Department of Veterans Affairs, because he said the care there is so poor.
ANDY BARR HAS HAMMERED AMY MCGRATH ON TV. CAN SHE WIN WITHOUT ATTACKING BACK?
By Daniel Desrochers, Lexington Herald-Leader, Sep 12, 2018
After U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Lexington, launched his first attack ad of the 2018 congressional campaign, Democratic candidate Amy McGrath responded four days later with an ad of her own.
The retired Marine fighter pilot didn’t go after him on any specific issue. There was no narrator or grainy video. Instead, she looked at the camera and asked Barr a question.
“I want to say to Andy Barr — seriously, is that all you got?”
In the six weeks since, Barr’s campaign released a new attack ad every Monday. They’ve talked about the places McGrath’s gone to raise money, then included footage of her telling donors that she’s more progressive than anyone who’s held the seat. They’ve gone after her opposition to the Republican tax bill, her pro-choice views on abortion and, now, her stance on health care.
IN KENTUCKY HOUSE RACE, A BATTLE OF IDEOLOGY VS RESUME
By Michael Tackett, The New York Times, Aug 16, 2018
[Barr] finds himself in one of the country’s most competitive midterm races against a first-time candidate, Amy McGrath, a Democrat and a former Marine combat aviator whose life story made an instant connection with voters. That has transformed the race into a tossup in a district that Mr. Barr won by 22 percentage points only two years ago.
DEMOCRATS ARE RUNNING A SMART, POPULIST CAMPAIGN
By David Leonhardt (Opinion Columnist), The New York Times, May 27, 2018
In Kentucky, Amy McGrath became a sensation with a rousing introductory video about how she had overcome sexism to fly military jets. But why was McGrath running for Congress? Because, she explained in the video, Andy Barr, the incumbent, “said he would vote enthusiastically to take health care away from over a quarter-million Kentuckians.”
The political scientist Theda Skocpol is among the sharpest observers of modern American politics, having studied the Obama presidency, the Tea Party reaction and now the Trump resistance. Skocpol and her colleagues are tracking Trump-leaning areas in four swing states, and she too has been struck by the Democrats’ relative unity. “Media pundits and even social scientists want to look for some kind of ideological divide,” she told me. “I just don’t see a huge set of divisions in the Democratic Party. They’re all talking about economic issues.”
AMY MCGRATH WAS AT A WENDY’S WHEN HER PHONE RANG. IT WAS JOE BIDEN. HERE’S WHAT HE SAID
By Lesley Clark, Lexington Herald-Leader, May 26, 2018
Amy McGrath was sitting in the parking lot of a Lexington Wendy's when the phone rang. Two days after winning a come-from behind bid to become the Democratic challenger to take on Rep. Andy Barr, she was deluged with congratulatory calls and texts.
This one was different: on the line, former Vice President Joe Biden, offering congratulations and telling McGrath she offered a path that other Democrats should take notice of, said McGrath's campaign manager Mark Nickolas.
Biden said he was impressed with how the retired fighter pilot performed in the rural counties outside Lexington and said that other Democrats should be working to connect with rural voters, Nickolas said. Biden was especially pleased that McGrath was successful in doing so and offered to help in any way, Nickolas said.
MCGRATH CAN’T BE LABELED
By Ronnie Ellis, CNHI (Richmond Register), May 25, 2018
FRANKFORT — When Amy McGrath stepped behind a microphone Tuesday night in Richmond after her eight-point win over Lexington Mayor Jim Gray in the Democratic primary for the Sixth Congressional District, she began her victory speech this way:
“Thank you Madison County!”
McGrath won every county in the 19-county district except for Fayette County, the district’s most urban and home to Gray.
McGrath targeted Madison, Clark, Franklin and other counties outside Fayette from the start, opening campaign headquarters in three of them, including the one in Richmond where she held her victory celebration.
That’s in contrast to previous Democratic challengers’ strategies to roll up big margins in Fayette and Franklin and hope to overcome Rep. Andy Barr’s appeal in the more rural, more conservative counties.
HOW AMY MCGRATH WENT FROM MARINE FIGHTER PILOT TO VICTORIOUS DEMOCRAT
By Michael Tackett, The New York Times, May 23, 2018
RICHMOND, Ky. — People have been telling Amy McGrath “no” for a long time.
No, you cannot compete against the boys in sports. No, you cannot serve in combat or fly fighter jets. And no, you certainly cannot defeat the popular mayor of the largest city in your congressional district as a first-time candidate.
A wall of trophies, a degree from the Naval Academy, 89 combat flight missions and one stunning House Democratic primary victory later, Ms. McGrath is growing more used to the sound of “yes,” even as she moves to turn around the toughest “no’s” yet, Republican voters in the suddenly bellwether Sixth Congressional District of Kentucky.
On Tuesday, she easily defeated Jim Gray, the well-liked mayor of Lexington, for the Democratic nomination in Kentucky’s Sixth. Republicans moved immediately to define her as the far-left candidate who triumphed despite a rejection by the Democratic establishment. But Democrats united around her just as quickly, turning the fight this summer and fall for Kentucky’s Sixth into a critical test of the Democrats’ vaunted “blue wave.”
The story of how Ms. McGrath became an avatar for that wave is a narrative that combined a compelling biography, risk-taking, the virtues of the digital age and the willingness to compete even when party elders in Washington were trying to stop her. She slogged through a grueling climb in the polls, suffered a personal tragedy just last month, then fended off a late and unexpected negative attack — all for the chance to compete against an incumbent Republican, Representative Andy Barr, who won his last re-election race by 22 percentage points
AMY MCGRATH SOARS TO VICTORY OVER JIM GRAY IN KENTUCKY. BATTLE WITH ANDY BARR IS NEXT
By Daniel Desrochers, Lesley Clark and John Cheves, Herald-Leader, May 22, 2018
RICHMOND — Former fighter pilot Amy McGrath surged to victory over Lexington Mayor Jim Gray Tuesday in the Democratic primary for Kentucky's 6th Congressional District, setting up a November election that will attract national money and attention as Democrats try to make Kentucky part of a possible blue wave in 2018.
"Can you believe this?" McGrath asked the crowd at her victory party in Richmond. "What happened tonight was amazing. I couldn't be more humbled and more honored to be standing here tonight as your nominee."
She is a candidate who fits the Democratic moment. The former fighter pilot — the first woman Marine to fly into combat in an F-18 — is a political newcomer at a time Democrats across the country are looking for a fresh response to the 2016 election of President Donald Trump.
AMY MCGRATH, ONCE A FIGHTER PILIOT, WINS KENTUCKY PRIMARY FOR KENTUCKY’S 6TH DISTRICT
By Michael Tackett, The New York Times, May 22, 2018
RICHMOND, Ky. — Amy McGrath, who packaged her biography as the first female Marine to fly in an F-18 fighter jet in combat with a powerful anti-Washington message, won the Democratic House primary in Kentucky’s Sixth congressional district Tuesday, according to The Associated Press.
Ms. McGrath, 42, campaigned vigorously in all 19 counties in the district that stretch into deeply Republican rural areas, and was able to raise an extraordinary amount of money without the backing of national Democrats, many of whom thought that her opponent, Jim Gray, the mayor of Lexington, would be the stronger candidate. Her win was the latest example of the strength of female candidates this year.
MARINE VETERAN AMY MCGRATH WINS TOUGH DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY IN KENTUCKY’S 6TH DISTRICT
By Bruce Schreiner, Associated Press, May 22, 2018
Former fighter pilot Amy McGrath vanquished Lexington’s mayor in Tuesday’s Democratic primary for a congressional seat in Kentucky, setting up a tougher mission against a Republican incumbent in a district seen as a pickup opportunity for her party.
McGrath, a political newcomer who spent 20 years in the Marine Corps, defeated Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, state Sen. Reggie Thomas and three other opponents.
Her victory sets up a high-profile fall campaign against Rep. Andy Barr in the 6th District, which Republican Donald Trump carried in 2016. Democrats see it as their best chance to gain a seat in the Bluegrass State.
A CLASH OF EXPERIENCES IN KENTUCKY’S 6TH DISTRICT DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY
By Simone Pathe, Roll Call, May 17, 2018
Even a casual observer of politics has probably heard of Amy McGrath.
The retired Marine fighter pilot made a splash last year with an introductory video about the letters she wrote to members of Congress asking them to change the law so that women could fly in combat.
The video went viral and helped her raise more than double Kentucky GOP Rep. Andy Barr during the third quarter of 2017. She’s been profiled by the national media as one of the female veterans helping shaking up politics this cycle.
But for most of the campaign, she’s run without the backing of many in the Democratic apparatus who have championed female recruits. She supports abortion rights but hasn’t sought the endorsement of EMILY’s List, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee recruited someone else to run against her.
McGrath’s biggest political test so far is on Tuesday, when she’ll face off against Lexington Mayor Jim Gray (and four other candidates) for the Democratic nomination in Kentucky’s 6th District. Gray, the 2016 Democratic Senate nominee, entered the race in December — four months after McGrath — with encouragement from the DCCC.
MCGRATH TO SPEND ELECTION NIGHT IN MADISON COUNTY
By Jonathan Greene, Richmond Register, May 16, 2018
Retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel Amy McGrath, Democratic candidate for Congress in Kentucky's Sixth District, is set to host an election night event in Richmond.
The community potluck supper will be held at the Copper Fox Event Center, 616 University Shopping Center in Richmond. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the event is free. Attendees are encouraged to bring a side dish or dessert.
"Throughout this campaign, Amy has insisted that our focus be on all 19 counties of this district. Madison County is not only the district's second-largest county, but is one of the most critical battlegrounds. Our first of six field offices was opened in Richmond earlier this year and we are very excited to spend election night in Richmond with a community potluck supper as we watch election returns come in,” said Mark Nickolas, McGrath’s campaign manager.
ELECTION 2018: MCGRATH SAYS CONGRESS NEEDS MORE WOMEN AND VETS
By Ronnie Ellis, CNHI (Richmond Register), May 16, 2018
FRANKFORT — You can tell by watching the candidates when a political campaign is nearing its end. They’re visibly tired; their voice is hoarse; and invariably they beg supporters to do all they can to get others to the polls on Election Day.
All of those things were on display here Tuesday as Amy McGrath implored supporters to call on neighbors, man phone banks and talk up her candidacy to others.
McGrath, a retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel and fighter pilot who lives in Georgetown, is one of six Democrats hoping to secure next week’s Democratic nomination to challenge incumbent Sixth District Republican Congressman Andy Barr.
AMY MCGRATH HAS DRAWN A NATIONAL SPOTLIGHT. CAN SHE BE RURAL KENTUCKY’S CANDIDATE?
By Daniel Desrochers, Lexington Herald-Leader, May 15, 2018
Last July, Amy McGrath stood in a hall at the United States Naval Academy, a replica of a 1911 airplane hanging from the ceiling, as she retired from the Marine Corps. A little more than a month later, she’d be in front of planes at a Kentucky airport, wearing her leather bomber jacket as she introduced herself as a Democratic candidate in the 6th Congressional District.
The video, and her story, caught hold. She is among a batch of political newcomers running for Congress in the era of President Donald Trump, baptized into the national political scene with interviews on CNN and MSNBC.
SUPPORT FOR FRESH FACES COULD HELP DEMOCRATS IN KENTUCKY’S ELECTIONS
By Al Cross, Louisville Courier-Journal, May 11, 2018
In the Democratic primary, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray appears to be trailing Amy McGrath, a recently retired Marine fighter pilot who stirred nationwide support with an introductory online video months before Gray, 64, entered the race, and now casts herself, 42, as part of “a new generation” that is needed in Congress.
McGrath’s polls show her ahead of Gray, with state Sen. Reggie Thomas in single digits. The race also has three candidates running limited campaigns. For Gray and McGrath, who disagree on little, the race is a battle of biographies.
…McGrath’s story is less typical. A Northern Kentucky native whose accent shows it, she flew combat missions, then taught at the Naval Academy, where she met then-Congressman Ben Chandler of Versailles, a Democrat who lost the seat to Barr in 2012. Chandler told her to call him if he could help her. She says she woke up the morning after Donald Trump was elected president and started thinking about running for Congress.
Chandler, who had been a Gray ally, referred McGrath to Mark Nickolas, who had run Chandler’s unsuccessful fall 2003 campaign for governor – and then his successful bid for the 6th District seat vacated by Republican Ernie Fletcher, who had won the governor’s race. Nickolas had become a filmmaker and says he never expected to do politics again, but was taken with McGrath and her potential, and as a Democrat felt a need to respond to Trump’s election.
For many Democrats in the district, McGrath looks like a better challenger to Barr – a fresh face with no record to attack (other than moving into the district when she retired), a military profile, and perhaps more salable in the district’s rural counties than a gay mayor of the state’s second-largest city.
‘THERE WERE REALLY NO OTHER WOMEN AT ALL’ AT WAR
By Kelly Kennedy, The New York Times, May 2, 2018
Lt. Col. Amy McGrath, who retired last year after two decades of service, was an F/A-18 Hornet pilot and, in 2002, the first woman to fly on a combat mission in the Marine Corps.
“There were just so few women. You would think we would band together, but a lot of the time, we just wanted to fit in, so we didn’t. We didn’t even know I was the first. We deployed as a squadron to Afghanistan. It really wasn’t until after the first couple of missions that someone said, ‘Hey, I think you’re the first woman to do this in the Marine Corps.’ And then we just sort of dropped it. I didn’t really pat myself on the back. We were in war. We were busy.”
DEMOCRATS' MIDTERM WEAPON: VETERAN CANDIDATES
By Travis J. Tritten, Washington Examiner, April 24, 2018
Kentucky House candidate Amy McGrath, a retired Marine Corps lieutenant colonel backed by Moulton, broke out nationally with a campaign ad touting her experience as the first female Marine to fly in an F/A-18 Hornet in combat during deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan in 2002 and 2003.
“We need people who know how to work on a mission together, we have enough old, rich CEOs in Congress right now. What we need are people who can put their nose to the grindstone and get things done, and that’s the experience that I’ve had,” McGrath told the Washington Examiner. “We also badly need people who understand foreign and defense policy, who have worked in international relations.”
McGrath is heading into a tough Democratic primary fight next month in central Kentucky’s 6th District against Jim Gray, a businessman and the openly gay mayor of Lexington.
If she can beat Gray and his fundraising advantage, McGrath will face Rep. Andy Barr in the general election in November. Barr, a lawyer, has won two prior elections, but Moulton believes he is vulnerable and that the district can be flipped to the Democrats.
FEMALE VETERANS FIGHT FOR A NEW MISSION: FIXING CONGRESS
By Nicole Gaudiano, USA TODAY, April 23, 2018
WASHINGTON – Amy McGrath’s latest campaign ad features a retired Marine Corps captain describing how the congressional candidate from Kentucky dropped a bomb on an enemy compound and “turned the tide for us” in the battle for the Iraqi city of Nasiriyah in 2003.
Mikie Sherrill, a House candidate from New Jersey, talks in her first campaign video about flying missions in Europe and the Middle East as a Sea King helicopter pilot in the Navy.
HOW AMY MCGRATH, A FIGHTER PILOT, IS TARGETING THE ECONOMY IN RACE FOR U.S. HOUSE
By Daniel Desrochers, Lexington Herald-Leader, Apr 1, 2018
When Amy McGrath appears in public she often wears her leather pilot’s jacket. Her campaign is branded as her 90th mission. She wastes no time sharing stories about what she experienced as one of the first women to fly in combat.
The former Marine Corps fighter pilot’s military background is her biggest strength in the Democratic primary to unseat U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Lexington, and she knows it.
But when her campaign spent $66,620 to send out a 32 page policy plan to 49,000 Democrats in the Sixth Congressional District this weekend, the plan wasn’t about foreign affairs or the military. It was about economic policy.
CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE AMY MCGRATH ON HOW SHE’LL WIN IN TRUMP COUNTRY
By Rebecca Nelson, Cosmopolitan.com, Feb 13, 2018
Two days after the 2016 election, Amy McGrath was trying to teach at the U.S. Naval Academy, in Annapolis, Maryland. McGrath, who had flown fighter jets in combat in Afghanistan, was no stranger to a difficult mission. But now she struggled to explain what had just happened to the midshipmen and cadets in her U.S. government class. "I just was hurt," she says. "Who did we just elect?"
That’s when she remembered a business card she’d put in her desk and long forgotten about, from former U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, a Kentucky Democrat. Chandler had given a lecture at the Naval Academy two years earlier. He and McGrath — who also hails from Kentucky — hit it off immediately, talking about bourbon and basketball and horses. After the election, she found his card and wrote him an email. “You probably don't remember me,” she wrote. “I think I want to run for office.”
Chandler put her in touch with his former campaign manager, and last June, McGrath moved to the district he used to represent, the Kentucky 6th, to run for Congress. In August, she released a tour-de-force campaign ad about making her dream of becoming a fighter pilot a reality. Since then, she’s raised $1.1 million. Amid reports that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee pushed one of her primary opponents, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, into the race, she's on a mission to prove that she can win without establishment support.
AFTER IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN, PIONEERING WOMEN IN THE MILITARY SET SIGHTS ON CONGRESS
By Mary Jordan, Washington Post, Feb 7, 2018
In Amy McGrath’s pitch to voters in Kentucky, she wears a bomber jacket and stands next to an F/A-18, the fighter jet she flew as a Marine to drop bombs on Afghanistan.
In Mikie Sherrill’s political ad in New Jersey, the camera lingers over a whirring Sea King helicopter, like the one she piloted on Navy missions.
And in Martha McSally’s video announcing her run for Senate in Arizona, she is crouched in the cockpit of an Air Force fighter jet to underscore that she was the first woman to fly in combat.
Women who served in the military are running for elective office in greater numbers than at any time in history. Many broke gender barriers in uniform and say it’s time to make their mark in politics. For generations, military veterans who become elected officials have overwhelmingly been male and Republican, but these female veterans, many of whom served in pioneering combat roles in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, are overwhelmingly Democrats and critical of President Trump.
FROM ANNAPOLIS TO CONGRESS? THESE THREE WOMEN KNOW TOUGH MISSIONS
By Michael Tackett, The New York Times, Jan 29, 2018
NORFOLK, Va. — Elaine Luria commanded an assault ship with a crew of 400 that patrolled the Persian Gulf for hostile Iranian vessels. Amy McGrath was the first female Marine to fly an F-18 fighter jet, dropping bombs over Afghanistan and Iraq. Mikie Sherrill was certified as a Navy helicopter pilot only after passing an underwater crash simulation in which she was blindfolded, turned upside down, and forced to find the sole exit door.
Their military journeys began at the United States Naval Academy, where Ms. Luria and Ms. McGrath were plebes together when Ms. Sherrill was a senior.
Now they are on a mission that no female Annapolis graduate has accomplished: to win seats in Congress.
A powerful wave of political activism is animating women in the era of President Trump, stoked by women’s marches and the movement to expose sexual misconduct. More than 390 women are running for Congress, a record number, and they are overwhelmingly Democrats.
But the three Naval Academy graduates, all Democrats themselves, are offering something that breaks through — the kind of military credentials and academy service that have propelled men to office since the founding of the country. And they are running in swing districts where military service is likely to resonate and where Democrats must win to wrest control of the House from Republicans.
THIS DEMOCRAT THINKS SHE CAN WIN IN 'TRUMP COUNTRY' KENTUCKY. BUT WILL NATIONAL DEMOCRATS SUPPORT HER?
By Ella Nilsen, Vox, Jan 17, 2018
Marine Lt. Col. Amy McGrath could be a test case of exactly what kind of Democrat will be competitive in the 2018 midterms.
McGrath is a Marine Corps veteran and a political newcomer running for the Democratic nomination in Kentucky’s Sixth Congressional District. She’s making a bet that her anti-establishment brand will carry her to Washington in an election year that’s shaping up to be a Democratic wave.
“We have to have a new generation of leaders,” McGrath told Vox in a recent interview. “We have to get back to talking to the working and middle class; we have to have more women.”
RETIRED FIGHTER PILOT GUNNING FOR BARR’S SEAT: MCGRATH SAYS ANDERSON (COUNTY) KEY TO WINNING ELECTION
By Ben Carlson, The Anderson News, Nov 29, 2017
As a political candidate, Lieutenant Col. Amy McGrath (retired, U.S. Marine Corps) checks off most of the boxes that appeal to Democrats these days.
She loathes the proposed tax reform plan; is pro-choice and a firm believer in climate change; is OK with gays and transgender people serving in the military; wants to fix, not repeal Obamacare; says Congressman Andy Barr is a liar; and perhaps most importantly, opposes President Trump.
Just another liberal politician? Think again.
McGrath is a strong a supporter of the 2nd Amendment; became the first female fighter pilot in the history of the Marine Corps; describes herself as a fiscal conservative; and refuses to tie her campaign to big donors who would, in turn, want to control her and her message.
WOMEN WHO RUN: THE FIGHTER PILOT TRYING TO LAND A SEAT IN KENTUCKY CONGRESS
By Nicole Villeneuve, Brit + Co, Nov 1, 2017
Women Who Run is a series highlighting six female candidates currently running for office. Whether the roles they’re campaigning for are in local, state, or national government, they’re all proof that more women are getting involved in politics than ever before.
Amy McGrath has America’s attention. The retired Marine Lt. Col. launched her Democratic congressional campaign in Kentucky this past August with a powerful video that highlighted her historic achievement as the “first woman Marine to fly in an F-18 in combat.” The clip went viral, and while McGrath, 42, was already confident in her skills as a leader, she admits the reaction to the video was a surprise.
“I’m trying not to get a big head out of it,” she laughs as we discuss her campaign over the phone. McGrath, like many others, felt driven to action after the 2016 presidential election. She was nearing retirement after 20 years in the Marine Corps and, recognizing her privilege of time and resources, her lifelong sense of service to her country took over. She’ll run against Republican incumbent Andy Barr, who, as she says in the ad, “said he would vote enthusiastically to take health care away from over a quarter million Kentuckians.”
AMY MCGRATH HAS A BRACING MESSAGE FOR AMERICA: This Democrat running for Congress in Kentucky thinks American government is worth fighting for
By Francis Wilkinson, Bloomberg News, October 31, 2017
It’s easy to blame Donald Trump for much of what’s wrong in America. But give credit where it’s due. He's pushing people like Amy McGrath into the political arena.
McGrath, 42, retired as a lieutenant colonel from the Marine Corps earlier this year, moved with her husband and three young children back to her native Kentucky, and promptly began running as a Democrat for the Sixth District congressional seat occupied by Republican Andy Barr.
Her August announcement video, punctuated by a characteristic defiance of obstacles and images from her path-breaking career as a fighter pilot, brought in almost $200,000 in contributions within 36 hours.
HOUSE CHALLENGERS BUILD WAR CHEST FOR 2018
By Lisa Hagen and Ben Kamisar, The Hill, October 18, 2018
McGrath, a retired Marine lieutenant colonel, exploded onto the political scene this summer with a viral announcement video.
The announcement, which has more than 1.4 million views on YouTube, tells the story of McGrath’s journey to become a fighter pilot in the face of sexism toward women in the military.
McGrath parlayed that success into a huge fundraising haul of more than $770,000. A majority of that money came from small donors — she raised more than $400,000 in donations of under $200.
McGrath is the heavy favorite in her primary against state Sen. Reggie Thomas, thanks in no small part to the major fundraising advantage.
WHY I'M RUNNING FOR CONGRESS
By Amy McGrath
When I was a young girl growing up in Kentucky, I dreamed of being a fighter pilot. Women couldn‘t do that then, so I wrote my congressman, and he explained women were not allowed in combat roles. I wrote every member of the armed services committees and asked them to change the law. Thankfully, society changed, laws changed, and I was privileged to attend the Naval Academy. Four long, tough years later, I was commissioned as an officer in the United States Marine Corps, and my dream to serve as an F/A-18 fighter pilot came true. But the Academy and the Corps did more than teaching me to fly; they instilled values, a desire to serve my country and a code of conduct I will never forget: honor, courage, and commitment. I have lived that code for more than 24 years.
MCGRATH TAKES BIG FINANCIAL LEAD OVER THOMAS IN DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY TO CHALLENGE BARR
By Daniel Desrochers, Herald-Leader, October 16, 2017
Retired Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath jumped out to a large financial lead in the Democratic primary to challenge Republican Andy Barr for his Central Kentucky congressional seat.
In the first few months of her campaign, which was officially announced in August, McGrath outraised state Sen. Reggie Thomas, D-Lexington, by a seven to one margin, pulling in $771,532 to his $109,034.
McGrath’s total put her among the top fundraisers for the quarter, which ran from July to September, including other insurgent Democrats looking to take long-held Republican seats. Randy Bryce, the Democrat challenging House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, raised more than $1 million in the quarter.
MARINE, FIGHTER PILOT, WAR VET — AND WOMAN AND DEMOCRAT
By Eleanor Clift, Daily Beast, October 16, 2017
Marine Corps former fighter pilot Amy McGrath is running as a Democrat in a deeply red, middle Kentucky district, and she is doing something a Democrat in such a district would have been afraid to do quite recently: She’s calling for reasonable gun restrictions.
Back in 2013, four Democrats from red states like hers cast the votes that defeated background checks under President Obama, ending the gun safety agenda he hoped to enact after Sandy Hook, when a mass shooter mowed down 20 first-graders in an elementary school. But today, Democrats are more united on “common-sense” gun regulations.
McGrath provides a good example of how Democrats in pro-gun red states will proceed in the wake of Las Vegas, and the renewed calls for gun safety spurred by the latest mass shooting. She’s pro-gun, she owns guns, she’s a “double expert” in the M-16 rifle and 9 mm pistol but says she’s a “reasonable person” and we need a “conversation” about how to curb gun violence.
MARINE CORPS VETERAN VYING FOR CONGRESS
By Seth Littrell, Winchester Sun, August 9, 2017
A Kentucky native and U.S. Marine Corps veteran has returned to her home state with hopes of challenging U.S. Rep. Andy Barr for his Sixth District seat in the House of Representatives.
Amy McGrath, a Democrat, retired lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps and instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy, said progressive values were what enabled her to enjoy the career she did serving the country.
“When I was a kid I never wanted to be a politician,” said McGrath, who grew up in Kenton County and currently lives in Georgetown. “All I ever wanted to do was fly fighter jets and serve my country.”
HERE’S THE STORY BEHIND THE FIGHTER PILOT WHO MADE THAT VIRAL CAMPAIGN AD —
RETIRED MARINE AMY MCGRATH IS RUNNING FOR OFFICE TO TAKE OUT “MITCH MCCONNELL’S HAND-PICKED CONGRESSMAN
By Travis Waldron, Huffington Post, August 6, 2017
McGrath, 42, is now hoping a campaign of a different sort will find similar success. On Tuesday, McGrath announced her candidacy to become the first woman to ever represent Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District. Her announcement came in a two-minute online video that rooted her candidacy in her two decades of military experience ― and her fight to be allowed to serve.
CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE AMY MCGRATH BURSTS ON TO SIXTH DISTRICT SCENE
By Alfred Miller, State-Journal (Frankfort), August 5, 2017
Amy McGrath and her now famous bomber jacket are a bona fide viral sensation.
Since Tuesday, the video of the retired Marine Corps lieutenant colonel striding confidently in front of a fighter jet as she declares her candidacy for Kentucky’s Sixth Congressional District Representative has been viewed 1.1 million times on YouTube. That’s a lot for a district — the district to which Frankfort belongs — with only 561,000 registered voters.
What accounts for the strong interest in McGrath’s video? McGrath told The State Journal it has to do with an electorate tired of career politicians.
“I think Americans are tired of the of dysfunction that they see out of our career politicians — because it benefits them,” McGrath said in a wide-ranging interview with the newspaper on Wednesday. “Look at Mitch McConnell. I mean, here’s a guy who didn’t really care what was happening in the Obama presidency. He just wanted to be an obstructor.”
KENTUCKY COMBAT VETERAN AMY MCGRATH IS GOING VIRAL WITH A VIDEO ANNOUNCING CONGRESSIONAL RUN
By Jeffrey Lee Puckett, Courier-Journal, August 3, 2017
Amy McGrath, a combat veteran living in Georgetown, Kentucky, is going viral after she released a bold video on Tuesday announcing that she'll run for Congress in the 2018 election.
McGrath, who will run as a Democrat, has captured the attention of politicians, pundits and internet warriors who have ensured that her YouTube video will top 1 million views.
Stories about the video have been done by the Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, Esquire, and Huffington Post. MSNBC's "Morning Joe" aired the video in its entirety. Esquire's story was called "How to Make A Political Ad – And How Not To," comparing McGrath's ad to one from Paul Ryan. Spoiler alert: She was the winner.
LT. COL. MCGRATH RAISES $197K FOR CAMPAIGN IN 36 HOURS
WLEX-TV, August 2, 2017
(LEX 18) - Within 36 hours of posting her two-minute video announcing her campaign, retired U.S. Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Amy McGrath has raised $197,227 for her campaign.
RETIRED FIGHTER PILOT AMY MCGRATH RUNNING FOR CONGRESS IN KENTUCKY’S 6TH DISTRICT
By Adam Beam, Associated Press, August 1, 2017
McGrath is one of several military veterans to run for office as a Democrat following Donald Trump’s election last year. They include former Air Force officer Chrissy Houlahan in Pennsylvania, former Army Ranger Jason Crow in Colorado and former Marine Dan McCready in North Carolina.
But McGrath said she was not recruited to run by party officials.
“I want to make that very clear. I was never recruited by the Democratic Party. I recruited them,” she said. “I believe that veterans running for office is good for the country in general, no matter what party.
HERE’S HOW TO MAKE A POLITICAL AD-AND HOW NOT TO: Amy McGrath Knows What She’s Doing. Paul Ryan Does Not
By Charles P. Pierce, Esquire, August 1, 2017
A few weeks back, we pointed out that Randy Bryce, the steelworker and Democrat who is challenging Speaker Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny starver from the state of Wisconsin, for re-election in 2018, kicked off his campaign with one of the best political commercials you'll ever see.
Down in Kentucky, a woman named Amy McGrath, a former Marine combat fighter pilot, is taking on incumbent Republican Andy Barr in Kentucky's Sixth Congressional District, and her kickoff ad is pretty dope as well.
MCGRATH ENTERS SIXTH DISTRICT CONGRESSIONAL RACE
By Ronnie Ellis, Richmond Register/CNHI, August 1, 2017
FRANKFORT — Retired U.S. Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath made it official Tuesday, announcing in a two-minute video she plans to run for Congress from Kentucky’s Sixth District currently represented by Republican Andy Barr of Lexington.
McGrath, 42, grew up in Edgewood outside of Covington before spending 20 years in the U.S. Marines, becoming the first woman to pilot FA-18 fighter planes in combat and rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel before retiring June 1 and moving with her husband and three young children to Georgetown in Scott County.
EX-MARINE MAKES IT OFFICIAL: SHE WANTS ANDY BARR'S SEAT IN CONGRESS
By Daniel Desrochers, Herald-Leader, August 1, 2017
In July, after 20 years in the United States Marine Corps, Lt. Col. Amy McGrath packed up her things and moved back to Kentucky.
Tuesday, less than a month after the move, her campaign released a video announcing that she will run for Congress in the Sixth Congressional District, which is represented by Republican Andy Barr of Lexington.
“This is my new mission,” McGrath, 42, said in the announcement video, “To take on a Congress full of career politicians who treat the people of Kentucky like they’re disposable.”
The video highlights McGrath’s military service — particularly the obstacles she overcame to become a fighter pilot — criticized Barr for supporting congressional efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and highlighted McGrath’s Kentucky roots.
“I just feel strongly that we need better leaders,” McGrath said in a June interview when asked why she was running. “We need more people who care less about their own political future or career and we need more people who have been public servants in other ways to run for office.”
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK -- WHAT HOUSE DEMOCRATS WANT 2018 TO LOOK LIKE
POLITICO Playbook, August 1, 2017
MARK PUTNAM, the top-flight Democratic ad maker, has cut a spot for Ret. Lt. Col. Amy McGrath, who is running against Rep. Andy Barr in a solid Republican district in Kentucky. The spot tells the story of McGrath’s career -- she was the first female Marine to fly in an F-18 in combat and flew in 89 missions bombing al Qaeda and the Taliban. The ad has some familiar themes: Barr -- who she says is Mitch McConnell’s hand-picked congressman -- wants to take health care away from people, according to McGrath. But the spot also highlights another theme in 2018: House Democrats are especially interested in veterans jumping in the race. The imagery in this ad shows how they might employ military ties in the midterm.
“This is my new mission: to take on a Congress full of career politicians who treat the people of Kentucky like they’re disposable. Some are telling me a Democrat can’t win that battle in Kentucky. That we can’t take back our country for my kids and yours. We’ll see about that.” The ad ends showing her Marine dress uniform with all her medals, decorations and her personal sword, with the text “Amy McGrath: Democrat for Congress” on the screen. The two-minute spot http://bit.ly/2vohv5j
SHE’S GOT GRIT: LIVING HER OWN COURAGE FROM THE F/A-18 TO A BID FOR CONGRESS
By Shannon H. Polson, Medium, July 18, 2017
Amy McGrath has just retired from the Marines when I catch up with her on her way to Kentucky. She’s heading back home with her family in tow, and she’s not taking any time off, just about ready to announce that she is running for office in 2018.
Once you hear her story, it’s not a surprise that she doesn’t slow down. As a young Kentucky girl, the youngest of three children born to a father who taught high school history and a mother who was one of the first women to graduate medical school from the University of Kentucky, McGrath fell in love with fighter jets at age 12. The military was not part of her family history, but she had learned plenty of grit from her mother, who, after working as a pediatrician for a number of years found herself unable to walk when symptoms of childhood polio returned. Knowing she would not be able to continue her career as a pediatrician without being on her feet, when Amy was a young teenager, McGrath’s mother did a second residency to become a psychiatrist. That example of extreme determination and adaptability made a deep impact on McGrath.
MCGRATH STILL TESTING WATERS ON 'LISTENING TOUR'
By Ronnie Ellis, Richmond Register/CNHI, June 20, 2017
Amy McGrath, the retired U.S. Marine fighter pilot considering a run for Congress as a Democrat, won’t easily be pigeon-holed by political opponents.
That won’t stop them from trying, of course.
McGrath, who retired as a Lieutenant Colonel from the Marine Corps on June 1, is considering a challenge to Republican U.S. Congressman Andy Barr in Kentucky’s Sixth District.
ELECTION 2018: MCGRATH ESTABLISHES EXPLORATORY COMMITTEE
By Ronnie Ellis, Richmond Register/CNHI, June 1, 2017
FRANKFORT — Amy McGrath, the Kentucky native and FA-18 fighter pilot who is considering a run for Kentucky’s Sixth Congressional District, established an exploratory committee Thursday and said she will make a final decision on the race by July 1.
McGrath, who grew up in Kenton County, also said she and her husband, Erik Henderson, have purchased a home in Georgetown and plan to move back to Kentucky with their three young children later this month.
On Thursday, McGrath also formally retired as a U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Colonel and instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy. A native of Covington, she spent the past 20 years as a combat fighter pilot, Congressional aide, and instructor at the Naval Academy.
KENTUCKY DEMOCRATS EYE FORMER COMBAT PILOT AMY MCGRATH FOR BID AGAINST GOP REP. ANDY BARR
By Jeff Singer, DailyKos, May 1, 2017
Ever since he narrowly unseated Democratic incumbent Ben Chandler in 2012, Kentucky GOP Rep. Andy Barr has won re-election without much trouble in his Lexington-area seat. The 6th District backed Romney 56-42 and Trump 55-39, so it’s far from the most competitive seat in America. Still, 2015 Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jack Conway won the 6th 49-46 while he was losing statewide 53-44, and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray carried it 52-48 while he was losing his 2016 Senate bid to GOP incumbent Rand Paul 57-43, so it may be gettable in a good Democratic year.
State Democrats have a few prospective candidates in mind to go up against Barr. According to state party chair Sannie Overly, Marine Lt. Col. Amy McGrath is considering. All McGrath would say is that, until she retires from active duty on June 1, she can’t comment. McGrath is a former fighter pilot who flew 85 combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and she is finishing a stint as a U.S. Naval Academy instructor. McGrath also worked as a foreign policy advisor to California Democratic Rep. Susan Davis, who spoke well of her to CNHI news.
FIGHTER PILOT MAY CHALLENGE FOR BARR'S SEAT
By Ronnie Ellis, Richmond Register/CNHI, April 27, 2017
FRANKFORT — Even as establishment Democrats back away from a challenge to Republican U.S. Congressman Andy Barr in Kentucky’s Sixth District, there’s a lesser known potential Democratic candidate with an impressive personal story considering the race.
Marine Lt. Col. Amy McGrath is a native of Covington who has spent the past 20 years as a combat fighter pilot, Congressional aide, and instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy. She plans to retire on June 1 and move back to Kentucky — and perhaps run for Barr’s seat.
KENTON NATIVE NAMED TO KY. AVIATION HALL OF FAME
Cincinnati.com, August 14, 2016
Lt. Col. Amy McGrath USMC, a Kenton County native whose interest in aviation led her to the U.S. Naval Academy, Marine Aviation, and the first woman to fly combat missions for the Marines in its front line F/A-18 Hornet aircraft, has been named to the Kentucky Aviation Hall of Fame.
Formal induction will be Nov. 12 at the Aviation Museum of Kentucky, Blue Grass Airport, in Lexington.
Visits in her youth to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton, Ohio, inspired McGrath to pursue military aviation. Women were excluded from combat missions at the time.
This brought Amy McGrath, the middle school student who aspired to fly such missions, to write members of Congress about removing the restriction. She did not succeed, but her intent grew as she attended Notre Dame Academy in Park Hills. From NDA she went on to be part of the Class of 1993, U.S. Naval Academy.