June 30 (UPI) -- Former Marine Corps pilot Amy McGrath will face Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in November's general election after emerging as the winner of the Kentucky Democratic Primary on Tuesday.
McGrath, who was once considered a sure bet for an easy victory, succeeded in holding off a strong challenge from state lawmaker Charles Booker to win the primary a week after the polls closed.
McGrath was leading Booker, 45 percent to 43.2 percent, Tuesday afternoon when CNN called the race.
The contest was delayed by a month due to concerns about the coronavirus, and because most residents cast their votes via absentee ballot, the tabulation was also subject to lengthy delays.
McGrath had the support of centrist Democrats, including the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, after narrowly losing a bid to oust Republican Rep. Andy Barr two years ago. She also had a big fundraising edge over her challengers.
But Booker, an African-American state legislator from Louisville, saw his support surge as protests over police killings swept through Kentucky and across the country.
Booker won Kentucky's two largest cities, Lexington and Louisville, but McGrath prevailed in the rural parts of the state, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.
She now goes on to face McConnell, one of the country's most powerful Republican lawmakers and a key ally of President Donald Trump.