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Amy McGrath, former U.S. Marine and Democratic congressional candidate from Kentucky, center, speaks as Patricia Schroeder, former U.S. Representative from Colorado, left, and Tim Armstrong, chief executive officer of Oath Inc., listen during the 2018 MAKERS Conference in Hollywood, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018. The event gathers industry leading females for roundtable discussions to help inspire the women of tomorrow. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Amy McGrath beats Lexington mayor in Democratic primary for House seat in Kentucky

Voters in a central Kentucky congressional district opted for retired Marine officer and fighter pilot Amy McGrath over Lexington Mayor Jim Gray to advance to a fall campaign against Republican Rep. Andy Barr.

National Democrats once touted Gray as one of their best recruits in their efforts for a House majority. They said in recent weeks they’d be happy with McGrath, but the race still shaped up as a battle between rank-and-file activists and the party establishment.

McGrath was making her first bid for public office, among a handful of female Naval Academy graduates running for Congress this year.

Gray also lost a 2016 Senate race.

In eastern Kentucky’s Rowan County, voters denied a Democratic nomination to a gay candidate who wanted to challenge the local clerk who denied him and others same-sex marriage licenses.

David Ermold had wanted to challenge Republican Kim Davis, who went to jail three years ago for denying marriage licenses in the aftermath of an historic U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage.

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