Morgan McGarvey Wins Democratic Nomination for John Yarmuth’s Congressional Seat

Louisville Democrats have chosen who they want to vie for Congressman John Yarmuth’s empty seat: state Sen. Morgan McGarvey.

With 99% of the vote counted, McGarvey beat his challenger state Rep. Attica Scott with 63.5% of the vote. Both candidates were considered progressive, although Scott, who was a prominent face at Louisville’s Breonna Taylor protest, sometimes went the extra step.

McGarvey will face off against the Republican nominee for the House District 3 seat in the fall.

In a victory speech, McGarvey said he wants to make community and technical college free, end no-knock warrants nationwide and tackle the cost of health care and climate change.

“I refuse to accept that we can’t do big things in our country anymore. We can,” he said.” And November is not just an election. It’s about ensuring that we have a world for the next generation to inherit. That’s what I worked to do in Frankfort and will work to do in Washington.”

McGarvey also campaigned on supporting a single-payer health care system like Medicare for All, using his experience battling with insurance companies after the premature birth of his twins, as a personal reason for his interest in the issue. McGarvey also wrote in LEO that he supported raises for public education employees and an overhaul of the nation’s energy system. Unlike Scott, McGarvey never endorsed full student loan forgiveness or abolishing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

In an interview with KET after her loss, Scott continued to highlight her differences with McGarvey, saying she would have to have “a conversation” before supporting the state senator in his election.

“…There are some values and vision that I know the folks that I’ve been working with have that we’re not sure they’re aligned with the senator’s,” she said.

Scott also said that the Democratic Party is not doing all it can right now.

“We have a party that definitely is not standing up around issues of racial justice as it should, and we have a party that’s leaving people behind time and time again, and it only supports, for the most part, establishment, mainstream Democrats and people with last names that are well known and people with lots of money,” she said. “The rest of us matter, too.”

McGarvey was Yarmuth’s chosen successor, having been endorsed by the longtime Louisville rep in February, four months after he announced that he would not be seeking reelection for the seat he has held for 15 years. Yarmuth, who is LEO’s founder, also revealed to the Courier Journal that he called McGarvey to let him know that he wouldn’t be running for reelection after becoming concerned with Scott’s chances. McGarvey announced his campaign less than 10 minutes after Yarmuth said he’d be retiring.

Pulling in more than $1.5 million, McGarvey’s fundraising dwarfed Scott’s $236,000. Scott often criticized McGarvey’s fundraising sources. The state senator received money from a super PAC financed by a cryptocurrency billionaire. When asked about this at the Louisville Forum, McGarvey said he’s interested in changing Citizens United.

Louisville’s Congressional House District seat has been blue since Yarmuth won his first election in 2006. Yarmuth, a popular representative, rose to the rank of House Budget Committee Chair before announcing his retirement, citing a wish to spend more time with his family.

McGarvey ended his speech Tuesday night by saying, “we need to make sure we keep this seat blue.”

“We need to make sure Kentucky has that good voice in Washington,” he continued. “We will in November, and we will do big things for this country.”

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