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'This is bigger than Rand Paul': Charles Booker announces US Senate campaign

Booker is looking to unseat Republican incumbent Rand Paul, who is seeking a third term in 2022.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Former Kentucky state representative and Louisville native Charles Booker is running for U.S. Senate. 

The Democrat announced his campaign during a rally at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage Thursday, saying he believes voters are ready to create change.

Booker is looking to unseat Republican incumbent Rand Paul, who will seek a third term in 2022. During his rally, Booker said Paul treats the state like a step stool.

"Randal Howard Paul, I see you, but you don't see us," Booker said. "Rand Paul thinks we are a joke, he mocks us...he's an embarrassment to Kentucky because he does not care. He literally does not care whether you live or die."

Booker previously ran for the Democratic nomination in the 2020 Kentucky Primary, ultimately losing the bid to Mitch McConnell challenger Amy McGrath.

Mac Brown, the chairman of Kentucky's Republican Party, released a statement Thursday saying Booker's "extremist agenda has zero chance with Kentucky voters."

"Kentuckians reject far-left ideas like these every chance they get, and Charles Booker's campaign for U.S. Senate will be no different," Brown said.

Booker said opponents are calling him "radical," because "they don't want you to know that they're not investing in your communities." He said he understands the state has never had someone who "looks like me" represent the state.

"This is not just about winning a race — this is bigger than Rand Paul," Booker said. "This is really about how we change the trajectory of our future."

In April, Booker formed an exploratory committee for a 2022 bid, saying he took that time to see if Kentuckians were ready for change. Since then, he has raised more than $500,000.

Booker said he will need everyone, especially disenfranchised voters, to help in his fight for change.

"I understand why you might have lost hope, because if all you've ever seen is corruption...lies and deceit...politicians who don't care about you, why would you expect things to change?" Booker said. "But the one thing I know about the people of Kentucky, we are unstoppable."

Several activists and state legislators were in attendance at Booker's announcement, including Reps. Gerald Neal, Mary Lou Marzian, Lisa Willner and the mother of Breonna Taylor, Tamika Palmer.

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