This story has been updated
Mitch McConnell has won his seventh term in the U.S. Senate, defeating Democratic challenger Amy McGrath, according to the Associated Press.
Shortly after 9:00 p.m., McConnell was ahead of McGrath by 20 percentage points statewide.
The final results of the race will be tallied up as remaining in-person and mail-in votes are reported by county clerk’s offices across the state.
In his victory speech delivered at the Omni Hotel in Louisville, McConnell said that the results mean that voters wanted “proven leadership” for challenging times.
“Our nation will need Kentucky values and Kentucky ideas to defeat this virus and regain our footing,” McConnell said.
As he did during the campaign, McConnell touted his role leading the senate, where he helped craft the CARES act earlier this year.
McConnell’s opponent, Amy McGrath, criticized him for not passing another coronavirus relief bill before the election despite the escalation of the virus.
Polls showed McConnell ahead of McGrath throughout this year’s race.
McConnell gave a brief nod to McGrath during his victory speech, applauding her “willingness to step forward” and run.
But he also said that the electing shows that Kentuckians want to keep “our front row seat in the Senate.”
“We’re not finished yet. Kentucky wants more of the policies that built the best economy in modern history, not socialism that would stifle prosperity and hurt workers,” McConnell said.
In a statement, McGrath said she knew she was an underdog from the start of the race.
“But together, we built a campaign unlike any Kentucky has ever seen and got closer to a victory than anyone thought possible,” McGrath wrote. “We shattered organizing and grassroots donor records. And we forced Mitch’s special interest allies to swoop in to rescue him in the final days.”
McGrath won a closer-than-expected primary election against state Rep. Charles Booker, who gained popularity late in the primary race amid protests over racial injustice in Louisville and around the country.
The election was an expensive one. McGrath raised over $88 million for her challenge. McConnell raised almost $56 million.
Initial results showed McGrath leading McConnell only in the Democratic strongholds of Jefferson, Fayette and Franklin Counties while McConnell was leading in the rest of the state.
First elected in 1984, McConnell has led Republicans in the Senate since 2007, initially as minority leader and then as majority leader starting in 2015.