Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote GOP senator to try to reverse requirement that Pentagon remove Confederate names from bases No, ‘blue states’ do not bail out ‘red states’ MORE (R-Ky.) accepted a debate challenge from Rep. John YarmuthJohn Allen YarmuthEx-CBO director calls for more than trillion in coronavirus stimulus spending Rep slams ‘vulgar images’ and ‘racist words’ that disrupted virtual youth anti-violence event Unemployment to remain above 9 percent into 2021: CBO MORE (D-Ky.) on Tuesday after the congressman hinted that he was interested in a possible bid for McConnell’s seat.

Yarmuth told a Kentucky news station he would enter the race for Senate if McConnell agreed to a series of debates. In a tweet, McConnell’s staff responded to Yarmuth’s challenge, asking when the congressman would officially announce his candidacy for Senate.

“If Mitch McConnell would agree to debate me five times in public, I’d do it,” Yarmuth told local ABC affiliate WHAS11.

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“Accepted,” responded McConnell’s team, adding: “When is the announcement?”

A spokesperson for Yarmuth indicated to The Hill in an email that Yarmuth was merely joking about McConnell’s own record of supposedly failing to meet with constituents, and indicated that the congressman had no announcement about a Senate bid to make at this time.

McConnell, the longtime Senate GOP leader who enjoys strong support from his own party in the state, currently faces an announced challenge for his seat from Amy McGrath, a Marine Corps veteran who narrowly lost the midterm to incumbent GOP Rep. Andy BarrAndy BarrKentucky Senate candidate: McConnell ‘couldn’t care less if we die’ House GOP to launch China probes beyond COVID-19 Put entrepreneurs, workers and flexibility in next stimulus package MORE in the Republican stronghold district.

Yarmuth, a 12-year veteran of the House, currently serves as the chairman of the House Budget Committee and represents the Louisville area of the state.

Updated at 2:55 p.m.

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