Three-term incumbent Rep. Andy Barr hung onto his seat in Kentucky’s sixth district against first-time Democratic candidate and former marine corps pilot Amy McGrath.
The two candidates sat neck-and-neck for the duration of the race, with McGrath eventually taking 47.8 per cent of the vote and Barr taking 51 per cent of the vote. A mere few thosand votes separated McGrath from Barr at the end of the night, with the majority of her support coming from the district’s largest precincts of Fayette, Madison and Franklin.
McGrath won a significant majority in the largest precinct of Fayette, though it wasn’t enough to put her over the edge to win as Barr won in all other precincts but one.
While Barr won his re-election campaign in 2016 by more than 20 percentage points, according to Ballotpedia, this race was a toss-up between the two candidates after McGrath unexpectedly won in the Democratic primary. U.S. President Donald Trump carried the district by 16 points in the 2016 election.
McGrath, 42, campaigned in all 19 counties in the historically Republican district and was able to raise a significant amount of money, the New York Times reports. She’s one of the many female candidates running in this year’s midterms.
The race was widely heralded as an indicator of the Republican’s fate over the course of the night. A win for the Democrats in an eastern Kentucky district could spell disaster for Republicans in districts that teeter between red and blue.
While McGrath was largely considered to be a wildcard in this election, she’s a widely admired military veteran who’s served in over 89 combat missions and was the first female marine to fly an F-18 fighter jet into combat over her 20 years of military service.
Barr is an American attorney and longtime politician who’s served as the U.S. Representative for Kentucky’s sixth district since 2013. This term marks his fourth as Kentucky’s sixth district representative.
A voters’ guide published by local media outlet, the Lexington Herald Leader, have widely different views on key issues. AP has reported that health care is on top of voters’ minds this election. McGrath staunchly opposed Medicare while Barr is a longtime supporter.
While both candidates supported strong borders, McGrath has often stated that she thinks Trump’s border protection policies go too far.
Polls closed in most of Indiana and Eastern Kentucky at 6 p.m. EST.