2020 Kentucky Senate Candidate Guide

Mitch McConnell - (Republican - Incumbent)
Mitch McConnell - (Republican - Incumbent)
Amy McGrath  (Democrat)
Amy McGrath (Democrat)

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AFFORDABLE CARE ACT – Support Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare?

Mitch McConnell – No. Led Senate attempt to repeal the ACA, calling it a “failed law.” Said ACA continues to inflict “pain” on families.

Amy McGrath – Yes. ”It’s more important than ever to preserve and expand access to care.” Committed to fixing problems with ACA.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE – Require political ads to disclose their largest funders?

Mitch McConnell – No. Opposed the DISCLOSE Act requiring this, saying the Democrats sought “to shield themselves from average Americans exercising their First Amendment rights.”

Amy McGrath – Yes. “Large undisclosed, unlimited corporate donations directly undermine the wants and needs of ordinary, hard-working citizens.” Overturn Citizens United decision.

CLIMATE CHANGE – Consider human-caused climate change a serious threat?

Mitch McConnell – Mostly no. Historically has rejected human-caused climate change. More recently said he believes humans are causing it, but address “through technology and innovation,” not regulation.

Amy McGrath – Yes. Says climate change is happening and a major national security threat, from rising sea-level threatening naval bases to increased floods, hurricanes, and desertification fueling refugee migration.

CLIMATE CHANGE – Tax or regulate greenhouse emissions and support renewable energy?

Mitch McConnell – No. Supported withdrawal from Paris climate agreement, saying it would  “handcuff” the U.S. economy; opposed Obama’s Clean Power Plan. Recently refused to extend solar and wind subsidies.

Amy McGrath – Yes to renewables; unclear on regulation. Invest in infrastructure to support alternatives to coal jobs. Expanded solar and wind will reduce electricity costs and “bring energy-related jobs.”

CONTRACEPTION – Require health plans to cover birth control?

Mitch McConnell – No recent position found. In 2012 opposed requiring employer health plans to cover contraception.

Amy McGrath – Yes. “To deny mandatory coverage is … denying … women the opportunity to be productive members of society.”

COURTS – Pick Ruth Bader Ginsburg replacement now or let November winner choose? See CEEP Supreme Court guide.

Mitch McConnell – Yes. In Feb. 2016,  when Justice Scalia died, said, “This vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president,” to reflect the voters’ will. Replacing Ginsburg is different, McConnell now says, because voters elected Trump and a Republican Senate.

Amy McGrath – No. “You can’t say in 2016 that in an election year, you’re going to hold up a Supreme Court nominee, and then turn around and then four years later say, you’re not. … It’s wrong.”

COVID-19 RESPONSE – Support Trump administration’s response to coronavirus pandemic?

Mitch McConnell – Yes. Trump “took positive steps very early on for which he should be applauded, not criticized.”

Amy McGrath – Criticizes McConnell for “dereliction of duty,” pre-COVID cuts to public health. Questioned lack of oversight and corporate tax breaks in CARES Act, lack of support for state efforts, failure to extend benefits.

FINANCIAL REGULATION – Tighten or loosen regulation of banks and credit card companies?

Mitch McConnell – Loosen. Opposed creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Voted to roll back Dodd-Frank banking regulations, which he called “heavy-handed.”

Amy McGrath – Tighten. Criticized attempts to roll back Dodd-Frank banking regulations. Noted payday lenders are “preying on anyone who is low-income.”

GUN LAWS – Enact more restrictive legislation on firearms?

Mitch McConnell – No. Opposes gun control laws. Sees school security as the best way to stop school shootings. Will follow Trump’s lead on gun control legislation.

Amy McGrath – Supports measures with broad support like preventing mentally ill from buying guns, background checks at gun shows and bump stock restrictions.

IMMIGRATION – Create path to citizenship for “DACA” participants brought to the U.S. as children?

Mitch McConnell – Mixed. Supported some protections for DACA recipients in exchange for strongly restricting legal immigration. Rejected House bill offering a path to citizenship, though might consider in broader deal.

Amy McGrath – Yes. “Congress needs to extend DACA or enact legislation that will give DREAMers a chance to become full citizens.”

IMMIGRATION – Support expanded border walls?

Mitch McConnell – Yes. Supported emergency declaration for border wall funding.

Amy McGrath – No. “I think a wall is stupid … an 8th-century solution to a 21st-century problem.”

IMPEACHMENT – Supported Trump’s impeachment?

Mitch McConnell – No. “The House made a partisan political decision to impeach.”  

Amy McGrath – Yes. Trump “withheld vital national security assistance to Ukraine … to pressure them to investigate a political opponent.”

LEGAL ABORTION – Keep legal or ban?

Mitch McConnell – Ban. Supports speaking up “for unborn children whom our legal system has denied the right to life.” Said recent passing of anti-abortion laws “gives us an opportunity to begin to pick away at Roe v. Wade.”

Amy McGrath – Legal. Current restrictions are “reasonable.” Concerned with attempts to criminalize abortion in cases of rape, incest, or the life of the mother. Supports women making choices without government interference.

LGBT RIGHTS – Support gay marriage and LGBTQ Rights?

Mitch McConnell – No. “I’ve always felt that marriage was between one man and one woman.” But sees 2015 Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage as “the law of the land.”

Amy McGrath – Yes. Supports the “freedom to marry who you want to marry.” “No Kentuckian should be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation.”

IRAN – Oppose military attacks on Iran or Iranian leaders without congressional approval?

Mitch McConnell – No. Voted against War Powers resolution requiring congressional approval.

Amy McGrath – Yes. Congress must fulfill duty as “the only branch of our government with constitutional authority for war-making.”

LABOR – Support “right to work” laws, eliminating union ability to mandate union dues?

Mitch McConnell – Yes. Has “continually supported legislation at the federal level to enact right-to-work nationwide.”

Amy McGrath – No. “Unions have protected Kentucky workers for generations.” Celebrates “the progress of organized labor in this country.”

MINIMUM WAGE – Raise federal hourly minimum wage above current $7.25?

Mitch McConnell – No. A minimum wage hike would “kill jobs and depress the economy.”

Amy McGrath – Yes. Supports a gradual rise to $15 an hour.

PLANNED PARENTHOOD –  Support Planned Parenthood receiving government funds for non-abortion-related care?

Mitch McConnell – No. Led efforts to remove federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

Amy McGrath – Yes. “I think it’s an important institution. We should be funding it because it helps women.”

STUDENT FINANCIAL AID – Support free or subsidized tuition for lower-income individuals?

Mitch McConnell – No. But supports tax-advantaged education savings plans.

Amy McGrath -No. But supports “a debt-free higher education in exchange for paid service back to our communities.”

TAXES – Support administration’s $1.9 trillion (2017) tax cuts?

Mitch McConnell – Yes. Called the bill “major tax relief for middle-class families and small businesses.”

Amy McGrath – No. Called the bill “a massive tax scam that showered tax cuts and benefits on corporations and the wealthiest 1%.”

VOTING RULES – Support federal initiatives to address COVID’s impact on voting?

Mitch McConnell – No. Opposed funding for states to implement vote by mail. Said Democrats used “the virus as cover to implement sweeping changes to election laws.”

Amy McGrath – Yes. “During a global pandemic in Kentucky … we should be passing laws that allow more people to vote, not more voter ID laws.”

Campus Election Engagement Project is a nonpartisan effort to help colleges engage students in elections. Sources include Votesmart.org, FactCheck.org, Politifact.com and candidate statements. Vote411.org and Ballotready.org offer guides to local races.