Hosts on MSNBC's Morning Joe compared Amy McGrath, the Democrat challenging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), to failed 2018 Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke during a Wednesday panel.
"There's a bit of a Beto O'Rourke effect here, which is to say nationally Democrats are going to invest a lot in Amy McGrath, they're going to invest a lot of money in Amy McGrath because they would like to see her take out Mitch McConnell the way they wanted to see Beto O'Rourke take out Ted Cruz in Texas," co-host Willie Geist said.
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MSNBC contributor Steve Kornacki agreed, adding that "the opportunity to go after Ted Cruz was too much for most Democratic donors to pass up."
"O'Rourke was able to get some polls in the final few months of that campaign that suggested he had a shot, and I think that increased donors' appetite," Kornacki said, before saying that it was unlikely that McGrath had as much of a shot, considering that historically, challengers rarely win in states where the incumbent's party sits in the White House and leads in the state.
McGrath ran as a challenger for her congressional district in the 2018 midterm elections, but lost. Politico‘s Jake Sherman said that at the time Democratic leaders did not believe that McGrath was a good candidate and that it was her fault that she lost the race.
"Amy McGrath, while I agree that she has a lot of upside and a lot of interesting elements to her candidacy, lost the easiest district for a Democrat to win in the best year for Democrats in more than a decade in her race against Andy Barr," Sherman said, in reference to her 2018 run.
"D.C. Democrats did not want her, despite what they'll say now," he said. "They did not want her to win that primary she ran against the former Mayor of Lexington, Kentucky, Jim Gray, who was popular, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee didn't outwardly support Gray, but certainly did tacitly behind the scenes. They did not think she was a good candidate. I don't care what they say now. She raised $8 million. Andy Barr raised $5 million. She still lost by three percentage points and more than 10,000 votes."