Erik Henderson is married to retired Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath, who is challenging Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky for his seat in Congress. She was declared the winner of the Democratic primary against State Representative Charles Booker on June 30.
McGrath ran for the House of Representatives in 2018 as a Democrat. She lost to Republican incumbent Andy Barr by about 4 percentage points.
McGrath’s husband is also former military. Henderson was a Navy pilot and served for nearly two decades. The couple has three children and lives in Georgetown, Kentucky.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Erik Henderson is a Lifelong Republican But Served as the Treasurer For His Wife’s First Congressional Campaign
Went to the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory @SluggerMuseum yesterday where they were celebrating St. BATrick’s Day weekend. Got to hold Johnny Bench’s old bat. That was super cool. pic.twitter.com/ZzRMhURTSz
— Amy McGrath (@AmyMcGrathKY) March 17, 2019
Erik Henderson is a registered Republican. The New York Times reported in May 2018 that Henderson has been a Republican since he was 18 years old.
McGrath mentioned her husband’s choice of a political party in an interview with the State Journal. When asked why she chose to run for office, she answered that she wanted to help bridge society’s divisions:
I think it was the combination of the 2016 election cycle, the fake news, the divisiveness, the labeling of each other. My husband’s a lifelong Republican. I’m a Democrat. That’s America. And I was so saddened to see the country so divided. I just felt like we need better leaders, because it does start at the top. It starts with people who need to put partisanship aside and make our government and our system work. And I just wasn’t seeing that happen.
In 2018, Henderson didn’t have the option to vote for his wife as she fought to become the Democratic nominee for Kentucky’s 6th congressional district. The state has closed primaries, meaning only registered Democrats could participate.
However, Henderson was an active member of McGrath’s campaign. According to the Federal Election Commission, Henderson served as the Treasurer.
2. Erik Henderson & Amy McGrath Are Raising Their Three Children in Georgetown, Kentucky
Erik Henderson and Amy McGrath first met sometime in 2004, as she alluded to on social media. McGrath wrote on Twitter in early 2019 that she “got lucky when our paths crossed 15 years ago.” They tied the knot on December 19, 2009.
The couple decided to move their family back to Kentucky in 2017 after she retired from the Marines.
They settled in Georgetown to be close to family, McGrath told the News-Graphic.
Henderson and McGrath have two sons and one daughter named Teddy, George and Eleanor. McGrath’s cover photo on her official Facebook page is a picture of the family around the table, presumably working on homework.
3. Erik Henderson Was a Navy Pilot & Served in Afghanistan
— Amy McGrath (@AmyMcGrathKY) January 26, 2019
Like his wife, Erik Henderson is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan. According to his LinkedIn profile, Henderson served as a Personnel Recovery Officer at NATO Air Training Command in 2010 and 2011.
His responsibilities included coordinating missions to recover US military forces that had been taken prisoner or gone missing. Henderson also recruited and trained Afghan National forces.
Earlier in his career, Henderson spent time as a helicopter pilot in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. He was stationed there from 1999 through 2003. He then served as a T-34C Instructor Pilot in Corpus Chirsti, Texas until 2006. Henderson’s next move was to New Orleans, where he was a C-130T Pilot with Fleet Logistics Squadron Five-Four.
McGrath shared a photo of the two of them wearing their military fatigues. The picture isn’t dated, but she shared it in January 2019 to mark National Spouses Day.
4. Erik Henderson Moved Up the Ranks in the Navy & Became a Lieutenant Commander
Happy Anniversary to my amazing husband, Erik. It's been an incredible ride so far. Here's to more years of joy! pic.twitter.com/XUg5RxkMwK
— Amy McGrath (@AmyMcGrathKY) December 19, 2018
Erik Henderson moved to the Washington, D.C. area in 2009, the same year he and Amy McGrath got married. He was a C-12B pilot and Assistant Operations Officer at Joint Base Andrews Naval Air Facility, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Henderson continued to receive promotions during his time in the nation’s capital. His other titles included 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.
Henderson has now retired from the service, but his Linkedin profile doesn’t reflect that yet. He described himself as a “transitioning Naval Aviator with 20 years of flying experience looking to move into the aviation or business sector.”
5. Erik Henderson Earned an M.B.A. While Serving in the Navy & Now Works For a Home-Building Company
To my amazing husband, Erik. I got lucky when our paths crossed 15 years ago. You are so loved. Happy Birthday! pic.twitter.com/WxQAmGULdY
— Amy McGrath (@AmyMcGrathKY) January 17, 2019
Erik Henderson studied economics at Clemson University. He earned his bachelor’s degree in 1995, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Despite all of his responsibilities within the U.S. Navy, and raising small children, Henderson also found the time to go back to school for a master’s degree. He earned an M.B.A. from the University of Maryland in 2016.