FILE - Democratic congressional candidate Amy McGrath thanks her supporters after conceding in 2018 congressional elections, in Richmond, Kentucky, Nov. 6, 2018.
FILE - Democratic congressional candidate Amy McGrath thanks her supporters after conceding in 2018 congressional elections, in Richmond, Kentucky, Nov. 6, 2018.

WASHINGTON - Former Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath won the Senate Democratic nomination in the U.S. state of Kentucky Tuesday, setting up a November contest against one of the most powerful political figures in the country, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.
 
A week after voting ended and with the extended vote count nearly completed, McGrath defeated state lawmaker Charles Booker by a margin of about 45% to 43%, with other minor candidates splitting the remainder of the ballots.
 
McGrath, who lost a bid for a House of Representatives seat in 2018, faces an uphill fight against McConnell, a long-standing political fixture in the mid-South state and staunch supporter of President Donald Trump’s legislative agenda in Washington. But numerous national Democratic leaders, including Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, are supporting her.
 
McGrath raised millions of dollars more than Booker, an African American, in campaign funds. But he drew close in the final weeks before the June 23 vote after national progressive Democratic politicians endorsed him in the wake of national protests against police abuse of minorities.  
 
McGrath and Booker had traded small leads since election day as local jurisdictions turned in their results from mail-in voting.
 
Kentucky received requests for nearly 900,000 such ballots, an unusually high number that came in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with voters opting to not risk their health by going to polling places.  
 
Some election experts are already saying that the extended vote counts in party primaries that have turned Election Nights into Election Weeks in the U.S. are a harbinger of what could happen in the Nov. 3 national election, when Trump is seeking reelection against his presumptive Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden.
 
Other slow vote counts because of mail-in ballots in the June 23 Democratic congressional primaries in New York have left the political fate of two longtime House members in doubt.
 
Before counting the mail-in votes, former middle school principal Jamaal Bowman, who had never run for office before, held a lead of 61% to 36% over Congressman Eliot Engel, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.  
 
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, who chairs the House Oversight Committee, held a slight lead over lawyer and activist Suraj Patel before the mail-in ballots were counted in their race.
 
Results in both of the New York races could be announced later Tuesday.
 
Voters are headed to the polls in three other states Tuesday, with party primary elections in Colorado, Utah and Oklahoma.