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Who Is Erik Henderson? Details On Amy McGrath's Husband

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Who Is Erik Henderson? Details On Amy McGrath's Husband

If you ask die-hard Democrats about Senator Mitch McConnell, then you’ll likely be met with some choice criticisms of the Republican Majority Leader. He’s been in his Senate seat for over 30 years and, for many people, challenging him would seem like a fool’s errand.

But retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel Amy McGrath appears to see it differently: the one-time Democratic Congressional candidate announced in July 2019 that she would be running against the deeply entrenched Senator from Kentucky.

Although McGrath recently won a Senate Democratic primary, she still has quite a challenge ahead of her in order to beat McConnell for his Senate seat.

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McGrath is a retired fighter pilot who now lives in Georgetown, Kentucky with her husband, Erik Henderson, and their three children. 

Who is Erik Henderson, Amy McGrath's husband?

Like McGrath, Henderson is a retired military pilot. But unlike his wife, he’s a life-long Republican. Read on for the details about who he is and how they make their relationship work.

Amy McGrath started out as a fighter pilot for the US Marines.

McGrath made an immediate splash with her entrance into politics. Her announcement video for her primary campaign in 2018 told voters about her childhood ambition to be a fighter pilot who landed on aircraft carriers.

She talked about her experience helping to break down the barriers to women serving in combat capacity — barriers that came down just as she got into the US Naval Academy. She became a pilot for the US Marine Corps and eventually rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and flew missions in Afghanistan.

In her video she said, “I spent 20 years as a U.S. Marine, and flew 89 missions bombing Al Qaeda and the Taliban. I was the first woman to fly in an F-18 in combat, and I got to land on aircraft carriers.”  She entered politics after retirement from the service. She won her primary bid, but lost the general election to Andy Barr in 2018.

Then, last year, she announced that she would be running for a seat in the US Senate in 2020. Her challenger is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has held the seat since 1985.

Erik Henderson was a military pilot. 

McGrath cites her family ties to Kentucky as the main reason for moving back there after she and her husband competed their years of service in the military.

Erik Henderson and McGrath married in 2009 and have three children together. Like his wife, he was a pilot in the military as well, flying helicopters for the Navy.

Erik Henderson has a long military history.

Henderson’s LinkedIn profile describes his extensive military career. He served as a Personnel Recovery Officer at NATO Air Training Command in 2010 and 2011. That position meant that he coordinated missions to recover US military forces that had been taken prisoner or gone missing.

Before that, he was a helicopter pilot in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, stationed there from 1999 through 2003. After that, he spent time on bases in Texas and Louisiana. In 2009, he was stationed near Washington, DC, serving as C-12B pilot and Assistant Operations Officer at Joint Base Andrews Naval Air Facility. 

He continued receiving promotions, holding titles including, Department Head for Manpower and Reserve Pay Naval Operational Support Command, Assistant Officer for Plans and Policy in the Office of the Chief of Naval Personnel, and Department Head for Administration. 

He also holds a degree in economics from Clemson University and an MBA from the University of Maryland.

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What's Erik Henderson's current job?

In 2018, it was reported that Henderson was taking a job with a building firm in Kentucky. However, his LinkedIn page says he’s a “transitioning Naval Aviator with 20 years of flying experience looking to move into the aviation or business sector.”

He's not a Democrat.

Henderson didn’t get to cast a ballot for his wife in her primary race. At the time, the couple was accompanied to their polling place, as McGrath took her first in-person vote; in the past, she had always had to vote absentee.

But Henderson was directed to a machine to vote among the slate of Republican hopefuls instead. Kentucky as a closed primary system where only registered party members can vote in their party’s primary elections and, it was reported that, “The retired Navy lieutenant commander had been a Republican since he was 18, he said, declining to address the awkwardness of not voting for his wife.”

But even being a Republican didn’t stop him from helping out on his wife’s campaign. He was listed as the treasurer for the campaign on the Federal Elections Commission’s website.

The McGrath Senate campaign raised $2.5 million in her first day of campaigning.

Amy McGrath and Erik Henderson have three kids.

McGrath and Henderson have three young children together, Teddy, who's 7, George, who's 5, and 3-year-old Eleanor.

The decision for the Senate seat will be made in November 2020.

McGrath won a Senate Democratic primary last month, but the race is far from over. The decision won't be made until November 2020. 

Although McConnell is expected to beat McGrath due to his strong political history, the former fighter pilot still poses a threat to his seat. She currently has been able to raise more campaign funds than McConnell has, reportedly due to Democratic contributions. 

The chances of Democrats being able to take control of the senate this November are rising according to political analysts, meaning that McGrath may be helping to make Democrats the majority, even if she doesn't win against McConnell in November. 

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Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook online, and The Broad Side. 

Editor's Note: This article was originally posted in July 2019 and was updated with the latest information.