Morgan McGarvey won a prized congressional district in Kentucky’s largest city on Tuesday, keeping the Louisville-area 3rd District as the lone Democrat-held U.S. House seat in the Bluegrass State.
McGarvey, the minority leader of Democrats in the Kentucky Senate, beat back a challenge by Republican businessman Stuart Ray in the state’s most competitive congressional race in deeply red Kentucky.
McGarvey was endorsed by outgoing Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth, who held the Louisville district for eight terms and left the seat open with his announced retirement.
In a victory speech Tuesday night, McGarvey touted his ability to cross the aisle in the Republican-dominated state General Assembly. He said he would take that same attitude to Washington if the GOP takes control of the U.S. House next year.
“It wasn’t always easy,” he told a Democratic crowd gathered at a downtown Louisville hotel. “But I had never accepted the notion that we can’t do something. If we’re willing to listen, if we are willing to work together, if we are willing to build consensus instead of finger pointing and name-calling or spreading misinformation, there is no limit to what we can achieve.”
Ray, a businessman and former state Fish and Wildlife commissioner, had pledged to seek more economic development for Louisville and was critical of Democrats’ efforts to curb inflation.
Ray congratulated McGarvey and said he ran a fair race.
“We tried hard to communicate that the direction the country is on will lead to serious economic times and hurt the most impoverished parts of our city,” Ray said in a statement.
The 3rd District remained intact under the state GOP’s new redistricting plan and is far more diverse than other parts of Kentucky. It covers most of Kentucky’s Jefferson County, where white residents make up nearly two-thirds of the district’s population and Black residents account for about 20%, according to U.S. Census figures.
Ray narrowly won the GOP primary to face McGarvey and sought to capitalize on a national political climate favoring Republicans.
Democratic President Joe Biden won Louisville with about 59% of the vote in the 2020 presidential race.
McGarvey, a lawyer, campaigned in support of universal government healthcare, legalizing marijuana and expanding renewable energy to combat climate change. He also was critical of Ray’s support of an abortion ban in Kentucky and said the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol was a “terrorist insurrection.”
Ray said he opposes gun control laws, supports charter schools and thought the border wall begun by former President Donald Trump should be completed.
Republican incumbents maintained their firm grip on the state’s five other congressional districts, easily winning new terms on Tuesday. U.S. Reps. James Comer, Brett Guthrie, Thomas Massie, Hal Rogers and Andy Barr all had built-in advantages over Democratic challengers in a state that has turned increasingly Republican in recent years. Rogers won a 22nd term and is the longest-serving member of Congress.
Republished with permission from The Associated Press.