Charles Booker in Paducah telling supporters not to count themselves out yet.
Charles Booker has been all over Kentucky for the past several years showing up. We first met him at a voter registration drive in Paducah, then again when he spoke at Black History Month program at the Ice House in Paducah in February 2020. We took cameras, but he was so swamped with well wishers, we couldn't get close enough to take pictures.
Booker, an attorney and past state rep, often speaks of his upbringing in his hometown of Louisville. A diabetic, he shares that he rationed insulin when money was tight. He jokes about the color of his skin as he did in Paducah.
"Lots of folk counted me outs...Did you look in the mirror Charles Booker? You're a black man." He remains optimistic, telling supporters not to listen to the polls. There may be internal polls but big media pollsters have moved on to more fertile ground in Pennsylvania, Florida and Michigan.
Booker has had his share of defeat. After a late start in the Democratic primary against Amy McGrath, Booker surged in fundraising and the polls, but ultimately fell short. McGrath was later soundly beaten by incumbent Senator Mitch McConnell.
He has been discounted by the National Democratic Party (a move that was soundly booed in Paducah). There's no money coming from DC in his race against incumbent Senator Rand Paul.
He worked with clean up efforts in western Kentucky after the December tornadoes. He went to Eastern Kentucky with his volunteers to take supplies when it was hit by a catastrophic flood. Booker has been from the Hood of Louisville to the Hollers of Eastern Kentucky, even speaking at Pikeville's Hillbilly Days, a celebration attended by tens of thousands.
Booker has been criticized for showing up by his opponent, Senator Paul who has called his efforts in flood relief calling his efforts to bring water and supplies. Something Paul didn't do.
Rand Paul skipped the one debate possible between the candidates on KET. He also skipped the Fancy Farm stage because of a pending vote (which didn't happen during that weekend). Booker did take the stage at the St. Jerome's Picnic in Graves County in August.
Booker is currently touring the Bluegrass state on a campaign bus. He's been from Pikeville to Paducah. If he follows conventional campaign wisdom, his final campaigning will be in Jefferson County. Concentrating on his base in Louisville will most likely be his closing argument. If his urban supporters stay home then he will have no chance of overcoming rural conservative votes. Turn out is the key.
Booker is responding to Paul's media campaign in person and on social media. In response to a Paul mailer accusing him of being an "out of touch socialist", Booker said:
"If people say that being out of touch and being a socialist means loving the people of Kentucky, wanting everyone to be healthy, you're tired of political games, you want to do the work of ending poverty, you can call me what you want. But in a few weeks they will call me a US senator and Kentucky will get the change it deserves."
Booker admitted to his supporters on Wednesday that he hasn't near the money that his opponent has. He told them not to look for television advertising. His advice to supporters to win remains what it has been from the beginning.