Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) faces a primary challenge
from Attica Scott, the state's only Black
woman in the legislature.
The move pits Scott, a progressive community activist and leader in the call for police
accountability, against a powerful Kentucky
Democrat who is now the chairman of the House Budget
Committee; if she wins, Kentucky will send a Black lawmaker to Congress
for the first time.
“Transformational change at every level is required to achieve the economic and racial justice
deserve,” Scott said, adding that “in Congress, I will fight to close the income
gap, pass the Green New Deal
, and end qualified immunity for police officers.”
Scott has been at the forefront of the activist response to the March 2020 death
of Breonna Taylor
, a 26-year-old Black woman shot and killed by Louisville police officers following a botched raid
Scott proposed “Breonna’s Law” in August, which would essentially prohibit police from using “no-knock” search warrants, and similar legislation has since spread across the country.
“Communities across Louisville have been crying out for justice for a long time, and even with Breonna Taylor’s murder
, we are still not seeing results,” Scott said on Wednesday. “I believe that justice is an action, and simply showing up to listen isn’t enough; it’s time to address the inequities that have existed for decades.”
Scott is regarded as one of Kentucky's most progressive legislators in the Kentucky General Assembly.
Yarmuth won the 3rd Congressional District seat for the first time in 2006, defeating five-term incumbent Anne Northup (R) as part of a wave that returned Democrats
to the House majority.
Yarmuth has built a reputation as a progressive lawmaker who has supported single-payer health care
legalization, and other left-wing priorities throughout his career; he has never faced a significant primary challenge, and after a close reelection battle
in 2010, he has won four of his last five elections
with more than 60% of the vote.
Yarmuth faced rumblings of discontent in 2019 from Louisville’s Democratic Socialists of America
chapter, which threatened to back a potential primary challenge against him if he did not sponsor “Medicare
for All” legislation. Yarmuth, who had previously co-sponsored such legislation, has since signed on to sponsor Medicare for All bills in each of the last two congressional sessions.
He also regularly brags about his F grade from the National Rifle Association
, and he has broken with other Jewish
Democrats to defend Rep. Ilhan Omar
(D-Minn.) from anti-Semitism charges. But he has balked at other major left-wing goals, such as the Green New Deal, which Scott has positioned as a major part of her campaign, and which he has said is largely unfeasible even if wel
Yarmuth was the lead sponsor of the Democratic Party
's $1.9 trillion COVID-19
rescue plan, the American Rescue Plan
, and is now at the center of efforts to craft a broad budget reconciliation bill that includes key elements of President Joe Biden
's policy agenda, such as child care
programs and climate change
When contemplating a run in May, Scott told the Louisville Courier-Journal that her motivation would be to represent people who "feel like they just aren't being represented in D.C.