Kentucky AG Daniel Cameron Wins GOP Gubernatorial Primary, Will Challenge Dem Gov

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Mary Lou Masters Contributor
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Kentucky Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron won the gubernatorial GOP primary Tuesday and will now challenge Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear in November.

Cameron, who is endorsed by former President Donald Trump, won the Republican nomination for Kentucky governor with 45.9% of the vote with 46% of votes counted at the time of writing, The Associated Press called. The attorney general defeated Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles at 21.7% and former Trump administration U.N. Ambassador Kelly Craft at 17.3%, who received a last-minute endorsement from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, along with numerous other GOP contenders.

“Cameron started the campaign with a large lead in the polls and, for a variety of reasons, the other candidates were never really able to cut into that lead,” Tres Watson, Kentucky Republican political consultant, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “The Cameron campaign was able to effectively to portray him as the frontrunner and ride that initial lead to the nomination.”

“Cameron looks like he’s crushing. Outperforming the public polls. Good momentum coming out of the primary and this is absolutely a winnable race for the Republican Party,” Scott Jennings, a longtime GOP Kentucky adviser and veteran of numerous campaigns, told the DCNF. (RELATED: The GOP Could Flip Two Democratic-Held Governor Seats)

Cameron is the first black Kentuckian to be independently elected to a statewide office, the first Republican attorney general since 1948 and now is the first black Kentuckian to be elected as the “gubernatorial nominee for a major political party,” Mac Brown, chairman of the Republican Party of Kentucky, said in a statement provided to the DCNF. Cameron previously told the DCNF that he served as a “check” on Beshear’s “liberal agenda,” and promised to champion parental rights in education, bolster law enforcement and fight against the opioid crisis if elected governor.

“Andy Beshear doesn’t represent Kentucky’s values. I’ve had to fight Beshear’s agenda so many times as attorney general, that I decided to do something about it and run to defeat him,” Cameron previously told the DCNF. “They don’t know he’s actually a liberal – who pretends to be a moderate. But they will by the time November rolls around.”

The attorney general consistently polled at the top, with Craft and Quarles next in line, and several other GOP hopefuls following; there were 12 Republicans total vying for the GOP nomination.

“I’m running for Governor of Kentucky because we need to remove partisan bureaucrats from the Kentucky Department of Education,” Craft previously told the DCNF. “We also need a strong, conservative governor who won’t be a rubber stamp for Joe Biden’s radical policies.”

Beshear was narrowly elected in 2019 where he beat incumbent Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, who succeeded Beshear’s father Gov. Steve Beshear, 49.2% to 48.8% by just 5,000 votes. The governor’s victory was the only Democratic win on the ballot, which several Kentucky political operatives attributed to Bevin’s lack of popularity among Republicans, they previously told the DCNF.

“The Republican Party is excited to unite behind Daniel Cameron as the Republican nominee for Governor. Daniel is a fierce warrior for the Republican Party and has a strong track record of standing up to Andy Beshear and Joe Biden,” Brown said. “Daniel Cameron will be a governor who takes us in a new direction, solves these challenging problems confronting our state, and delivers for the men, women, and children of all of Kentucky’s 120 counties.”

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