Almost exactly one year after his bid for U.S. Senate came up just short in the Democratic primary, Charles Booker of Louisville formally launched his new candidacy for the office Thursday, this time hoping to unseat incumbent Republican Sen. Rand Paul in 2022.

Booker kicked off his candidacy at a noon rally before a few hundred energetic supporters in the majority-Black West End of Louisville, just a block away from the district he represented for one term in the Kentucky House of Representatives.

“We’re ready to prove the doubters wrong and make history,” Booker said to applause at the end of his 35-minute speech. “We’re going to win this race, and we’re going to transform Kentucky, and it starts right now.”

Booker formed an exploratory committee for a potential run in April, saying he would travel the state and listen to Kentuckians to gauge if there was enough support for him to win a race against Paul, who says he will run for a third term.

In a Wednesday interview with The Courier Journal, Booker said his campaign will build on the themes and issues of his 2020 run and the Hood to the Holler nonprofit advocacy group he formed in its wake.

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