Amy McGrath Habitually Failed to Pay Property Taxes

Local authorities fined Kentucky Dem for back taxes six times in five years

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August 11, 2020

Kentucky Democratic Senate nominee Amy McGrath was penalized for delinquent property tax payments on her Virginia home six times in five years, local real estate records show.

McGrath and her husband purchased a $739,000 home in Alexandria, Va., in November 2010. According to the city's real estate assessment office, the couple was up to five months late on six semi-annual property tax payments between November 2011 and October 2016, garnering fines of about $500 for the delinquent payments.

McGrath sold the home for $835,000—a $96,000 profit—in October 2016 to move to Kentucky and challenge GOP congressman Andy Barr. She lost to the Kentucky Republican by nearly 10,000 votes in 2018 despite outspending Barr by more than $2.5 million in a Democratic wave election.

The McGrath campaign did not respond to multiple requests for comment on the delinquent payments.

While many homeowners pay property taxes out of an escrow account managed by their mortgage lender, escrow is not required if the owner holds at least 20 percent equity in their home. McGrath received a loan for $591,200—80 percent of the Alexandria home's sale price—in 2010, meaning she was eligible to waive the escrow account and make property tax payments on her own.

McGrath narrowly emerged from the state's Democratic Senate primary in June, defeating progressive state legislator Charles Booker by fewer than 3 points. She spent nearly $30 million on the primary while Booker spent just $4.2 million.

Booker endorsed McGrath on Friday, more than a month after the primary result was finalized on June 30. While McGrath has acknowledged the need to win over Booker's progressive base to defeat Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R.), the state legislator's support did not come without criticism. In his statement endorsing McGrath, Booker "urged her to authentically listen to and lift up the people of Kentucky," assuring progressives that he would not give McGrath "a pass to maintain the status quo." He did not explicitly urge his supporters to vote for McGrath, instead asking them to give her a "chance to earn your vote."

"I hope everyone who supported my campaign joins me in earnestly engaging Amy's campaign and giving her the chance to earn your vote," Booker said in a statement.

McGrath's bid to unseat McConnell has further cemented her status as a strong national fundraiser with limited local appeal. An August 6 Quinnipiac University poll found that just 32 percent of Kentucky voters view the Democrat favorably. In addition, just 17 percent of McGrath voters said they support her "mainly because [they] like Amy McGrath." Just 3.5 percent of McGrath's campaign cash comes from within Kentucky, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.