McConnell Challenger Says She'd Have Confirmed Kavanaugh, Flips Within Hours After Backlash

McGrath criticized Kavanaugh while running for Congress last year (updated)

Amy McGrath / Getty Images
July 10, 2019

Amy McGrath, a Democrat challenging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R.) in Kentucky, quickly reversed herself Wednesday after an interview was published in which she said she'd "probably" have voted to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

McGrath, a former Marine aviator, made her comments during an interview with the Courier-Journal on Wednesday:

CJ: Did you think Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's accusation was credible?

McGrath: Yeah, I think it's credible. I think this is — I think many Republicans thought it was credible. And —

CJ: That wasn't disqualifying then?

McGrath: Well, I mean I think again, I think it's credible but given the amount of time that lapsed in between and from a judicial standpoint, I don't think it would really disqualify him.

CJ: So you would have voted for him to be on the Supreme Court?

McGrath: You know, I think that with Judge Kavanaugh, yeah, I probably would have voted for him.

The Courier-Journal published the story online at 4:02 p.m. and McGrath was widely criticized on the left. By 7:30 p.m., she had reversed her position on Kavanaugh, who was confirmed by the Senate last year but remains a target among the Democratic base.

"Upon further reflection and further understanding of his record, I would have voted no," she tweeted.


Last year, McGrath criticized Kavanaugh in a Facebook post, saying he was "among the most partisan people ever considered for the Court" and warning of the consequences of his confirmation.

"I echo so many of the concerns that others have articulated over the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court," McGrath began. "He has shown himself to be against women’s reproductive rights, workers’ rights, consumer protections, and will be among the most partisan people ever considered for the Court. Apparently, he will fall to the right of Gorsuch and Alito on ideology, and just to the left of the arch conservative Thomas. Kavanaugh will likely be confirmed and we are starkly reminded, again, that elections have consequences, and this consequence will be with us for an entire generation."

McGrath's decision to challenge McConnell comes several months after she lost the congressional race in Kentucky's Sixth District to Rep. Andy Barr (R., Ky.). During that campaign, she compared President Donald Trump's election victory to 9/11, saying what she felt the day after the election was close to "the feeling I had after 9/11."

Despite running in what was probably the most friendly district in Kentucky for a Democrat, McGrath still lost by more than 3 points.

Updated 8:11 p.m.: This post has been updated with McGrath's reversal on Kavanaugh.