Attica Scott to challenge John Yarmuth for Louisville congressional seat in 2022

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State Rep. Attica Scott announced Wednesday that she will challenge U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth in a Democratic primary for his seat representing Kentucky’s 3rd Congressional District in Louisville.

“A shift is happening all over our country and now is the time to choose bold leadership over complacency,” Scott said in a Zoom call marking her announcement.

She never mentioned Yarmuth by name in her announcement call.

Scott is attempting to join the likes of politicians such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Rep. Cori Bush, R-Mo., who defeated entrenched Democratic Congressmen on their way to the House of Representatives.

Her candidacy will test the mettle of the progressive political movement in Louisville that rose out of the Black Lives Matter protests last summer.

An oft-mentioned name in the coalition of progressive Kentucky Democrats pushing back against the more moderate Democrats who regularly run for statewide office in Kentucky, Scott gained national prominence during the protests over the police killing of Breonna Taylor in Louisville.

She frequently participated in protests against police violence and was arrested by Louisville police on charges of first-degree rioting, failure to disperse and unlawful assembly. The charges were later dismissed and she has since sued the city of Louisville for violating her constitutional rights.

Scott sponsored a bill in honor of Taylor, a 26-year-old Black Kentuckian who was killed by police who were executing a no-knock warrant in the middle of the night on her apartment.

The bill, which would have banned no-knock warrants by police, failed to get out of committee. Instead, a scaled-back bill that restricted no-knock warrants but didn’t ban them outright passed through the General Assembly on the last day of the session.

No bill filed by Scott has ever made it out of committee in the Republican-controlled General Assembly where she has served since 2017.

Scott, 49, has been an ardent critic of Kentucky’s moderate Democrats, but the campaign will put her head to head with one of Kentucky’s unabashed liberal politicians.

Along with being a member of the House Progressive Caucus, the 73-year-old Yarmuth is chairman of the influential House Budget Committee and wrote the language for the American Rescue Plan, which allocated $388 million to Louisville.

He frequently appeared with former state Rep. Charles Booker, who is running for U.S. Senate in 2022, and often touts his “F grade” from the National Rifle Association.

Yarmuth, though, has not faced a competitive primary challenger since he was first elected in 2006 and currently has $148,885 of campaign cash on hand.

Scott said she was running because she felt like Yarmuth isn’t representing the needs of Black women and that he hasn’t done enough to abolish U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Scott’s position on challenging Yarmuth in a primary has evolved in recent months.

When asked in January if she was considering the race, Scott said “If our Congressman Yarmuth were to decide not to run for re-election and the people wanted me to run.” She later said she was considering the race in May.

When asked if Yarmuth is retiring, his spokesman, Christopher Schuler, answered with one word: “No.”