WASHINGTON (AP) — Amy McGrath, a former Marine combat aviator who has raised more than $16 million in her effort to challenge Sen. Mitch McConnell in November’s election, said Friday that she was endorsing Joe Biden for president.
The former vice president campaigned in Kentucky for McGrath in her unsuccessful 2018 race for a U.S. House seat. Now she is trying to win the Democratic Senate nomination and unseat McConnell, one of the most powerful men in Washington.
McGrath said Biden was “respected and beloved by Democrats and Republicans alike” and had the ability to bring the country back together.
“Honor and integrity are at the heart of everything Marines do,” McGrath said in a statement. ”It’s why I believe so strongly that Joe Biden is the president who can return honor and integrity to the Oval Office."
McGrath joins a growing group of centrist-leaning House members who are backing the former vice president as he tries to consolidate enough votes in the moderate wing of his party to secure the Democratic nomination. Among those is Rep. Elaine Luria of Virginia, who was a classmate of McGrath’s at the Naval Academy.
Biden's campaign welcomed the endorsement from McGrath.
Related: Lt. Col. Amy McGrath, a retired Marine fighter pilot
"We are honored to welcome Amy to Team Joe in the fight for the soul of our nation and look forward to taking down Mitch McConnell and taking back the Senate,” said Greg Schultz, Biden's campaign manager.
Biden has said he considered McConnell, with whom he served for decades in the Senate, a friend he could work with as president. The remark drew criticism from some of his Democratic rivals, who noted McConnell's obstruction of President Barack Obama's agenda.
President Donald Trump is popular in the state, and McConnell is one of the officials most key to the president's success. The Senate majority leader is known for his powerful political organization in the state and is considered a solid favorite.
Catch up on the 2020 election campaign with AP experts on our weekly politics podcast, “Ground Game.”