Tuesday’s Republican primary for governor of Kentucky saw Daniel Cameron emerge as the party’s first major-party Black nominee, setting up a November contest with incumbent Democrat Andy Beshear.
A 12-candidate field that featured Kelly Craft, who served as United Nations ambassador during the term of Trump, and state Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles saw Cameron, the attorney general of the state, who former President Donald Trump endorsed, win.
In his own primary, Beshear easily defeated two unknown Democratic challengers.
Cameron, the state’s first Black attorney general, will serve as its first Black governor if elected.
The campaign now shifts to the general election, and this will be one of the most closely watched elections in November and could offer information about the presidential race of the following year.
After a first term marked by a string of tragedies, including the COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters, and a mass shooting last month in Louisville that left five people deαd, including one of his closest friends, Beshear, a popular Democratic governor, is going to confront a challenging reelection campaign in a state with a Republican majority.
Similarities to the state’s previous governor’s race can be drawn from the fall contest between Beshear and Cameron, but with the governor’s position reversed.
Beshear used the position of attorney general as a launching pad for the governorship in 2019. Beshear contested many executive decisions made by Republican Matt Bevin, the state’s then-governor, during his brief tenure as attorney general.
Beshear came out on top by a razor-thin margin in a contest dominated by Bevin’s combative nature.
The secretary of state’s office reported that due to rain that fell across a great deal of the state during a portion of the day, turnout was low in many areas.
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Although some areas received storm warnings, no voting disruptions have been reported. After the storms passed, election officials hoped for a rise in voter turnout.
When Cameron took over as attorney general after Beshear, the Republican turned the tables on the Democrat and filed numerous legal challenges against local, state, and federal Democratic policies, which won him favor with conservatives.
The COVID-era restrictions imposed by the governor were successfully challenged by Cameron, who claimed they constituted executive overreach.
His actions saved lives, and he heavily relied on advice from Trump’s coronavirus task force.
Cameron, a former aide to Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, has ascended the political ladder to become one of the party’s most well-known Black Republicans in the nation.
Beshear, as well as Republican lawmakers, have engaged in many policy disagreements as a result of Kentucky’s current divided government.
Republican lawmakers have overridden several Beshear vetoes to impose their own agenda on state policies.
Beshear won’t discuss Trump or polarizing national issues that risk further energizing the candidate’s conservative base if he sticks to his campaign strategy from last year.
He is also anticipated to lean into his role of leading within adversity after many crises during his first term and capitalize on his family’s solid political brand; his father, Steve Beshear, is a former two-term governor of Kentucky.
The New York Times has given the following tweet:
Breaking News: Daniel Cameron, Kentucky’s attorney general and a Mitch McConnell ally, clinched the state’s GOP nomination for governor. https://t.co/d6JDivzpw8
— The New York Times (@nytimes) May 16, 2023
In Kentucky, the pandemic claimed the lives of over 18,000 people. Many people were ki!!ed by tornadoes in western Kentucky in late 2021, and dozens more Kentuckians perished in massive flooding in Appalachia in the summer of 2022.
Beshear took center stage, leading relief efforts for those affected by tornadoes and floods after holding daily pandemic briefings over months.
Beshear publicly and viscerally mourned the deαth of a close friend last month after a bank employee in Louisville opened fire from an assault-style rifle, ki!!ing five other employees.
His Christian faith has frequently been cited as the cornerstone of his efforts to guide the state through trying times.
Along with Craft as well as Quarles, Cameron defeated Somerset Mayor Alan Keck, State Auditor Mike Harmon, and others.
With a methodical, workmanlike style of campaigning, Quarles hoped the support he had garnered from serving nearly two terms in statewide office would enable him to defeat his two main rivals.
He received several endorsements from regional GOP leaders.
But the primary campaign was dominated by the aggressive rivalry between Cameron and Craft. Craft’s campaign, funded by her family’s fortune and an outside organization, bombarded Cameron with advertisements.
The Craft supporters claimed that Cameron was an “establishment teddy bear” who wouldn’t be tough enough to be attorney general.
A pro-Cameron group responded by attαcking Craft after he received a last-minute nod from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
As he runs for the GOP nomination, Cameron’s handling of an investigation into the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor for Louisville police in 2020 could come under new scrutiny.
National demonstrations were sparked by Taylor’s passing as well as the Minneapolis police shooting deαth of George Floyd.
Cameron stated that jurors “agreed” that m*rder charges against the officers were inappropriate in Taylor’s case because they had been dismissed.
Three jurors disputed Cameron’s testimony, claiming that Cameron’s staff had restricted their inquiry and prevented them from considering whether to charge the police with homicide in Taylor’s deαth.
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