A McGrath Campaign Shakeup in Kentucky

The Story:

Amy McGrath, the Democratic Party’s hopeful seeking to oust Republican Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R – Ky) from his Senate seat, recently hired a new campaign manager, Dan Kanninen. Kanninen is an old hand at running campaigns and the CEO of a consulting firm.


McGrath has been trailing in recent polls, although those polls differ widely in how they depict the size of the margin. Some have her within striking distance, others have McConnell very comfortable at 17 points ahead.

Kanninen replaces McGrath’s previous campaign manager, Mark Nickolas. Nonetheless, Nickolas will remain with the campaign to oversee paid media.

That is odd, because it was paid media that has generated one of the campaign’s big problems. A McGrath ad says that McConnell “made millions from China,” suggesting that this is nefarious and explains trade policy positions. That suggestion has backfired on her. The “millions” have an innocent source: his wife, Elaine Chao, inherited them from her parents years ago. (McConnell’s in-laws ran a successful shipping company.)

The Thing to Know:

In general McGrath is having trouble getting traction against McConnell, who was first elected to the US Senate on the same day that Ronald Reagan won his second term, and who seems a fact of nature in Kentucky.

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