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GOP Looks to Bluegrass State of Kentucky for Big 2023 Victory

Posted on Friday, July 14, 2023
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by Andrew Abbott
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AMAC Exclusive – By Andrew Abbott

Kentucky

With few marquee races in 2023, Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s bid to unseat incumbent Democrat Governor Andy Beshear in typically deep-red Kentucky could be the most important single contest anywhere in the country this November.

Many Republican insiders have viewed Cameron as a rising star within the party since he first entered politics back in 2019. Cameron became the first Republican to become Kentucky Attorney General since 1948, and is also the first black man independently elected to any statewide office in Kentucky.

Almost immediately after Cameron was sworn in as attorney general, talk began swirling about a potential gubernatorial bid. That speculation proved correct when Cameron officially launched his campaign with a video announcement in May of last year.

In the one-minute clip, which begins with a quote from President Lincoln, Cameron says Beshear “does not reflect our values” and the Bluegrass State needs a governor who understands that “only faith can keep us strong.”

Cameron emerged victorious earlier this year from a hotly contested primary that also featured former U.N. Ambassador Kelly Craft and Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles – thanks in no small part to the endorsement of former President Donald Trump. Now, he looks to oust Beshear.

That will be no easy task, even for a politician as skilled as Cameron. Despite Kentucky voting for Trump by nearly 26 points in 2020 and sending a Republican supermajority to Frankfort, Beshear remains one of the most popular governors in America. According to the most recent polls, Beshear’s approval rating currently sits around 63 percent – the highest number for any Democrat governor in the country.

Cameron has leaned hard into hot-button conservative issues throughout his campaign, hoping to motivate the same coalitions that handed Trump a sweeping victory in Kentucky three years ago. Earlier this month, Cameron’s office filed an appeal to reverse a federal judge’s attempt to stop implementation of a new Kentucky law that would ban hormone blockers and so-called “gender-affirming” surgeries for minors who identify as transgender. The bill had wide support in the state, including from Cameron, but has effectively been blocked by District Judge David Hale, an Obama appointee.

Cameron has also taken a strong stance on other important issues for conservatives, including calling for the death penalty for anyone who kills a police officer, getting politics out of schools, and defending Kentucky’s pro-life laws.

At the same time, Cameron has criticized the divisive Democrat culture war issues that Beshear and others have trafficked in. He has been an outspoken critic of the liberal narrative that the United States is a “systemically racist” country, and has blasted President Joe Biden for “exploding the tensions that we have” through constant fearmongering about “white supremacists” and supposedly radical “MAGA Republicans.”

But while Cameron has intentionally avoided focusing on identity politics as a factor in this election, Kentucky Democrats have shown no such restraint. In April, the Lexington Herald-Leader, one of the most prominent outlets in the state, published a cartoon depicting Cameron as light-skinned and using Jesus Christ as a literal prop in one of his ads – not-so-subtly calling Cameron a “race traitor” and poking fun of his Christian faith.

This is far from the Leader’s first offense. According to Fox News, the paper came under fire for “depicting former President Donald Trump wearing a Ku Klux Klan robe, with Cameron, again with lighter skin than in real life, holding the tail end of the robe.” To date, the paper has not apologized for either cartoon.

Cameron has also focused in on Beshear’s record during the COVID-19 pandemic, touting his own opposition to Beshear’s lockdown policies. During the primary, Cameron stated during one debate, “I’m the only candidate in this race that can say when Andy Beshear decided to shut down churches, I went into federal court and got churches reopened in nine days. When he instituted his travel ban and told people they couldn’t leave the state without coming back in quarantine for 14 days, I went into federal court and got that executive order struck down as well.”

As attorney general, Cameron has also worked to hold the Biden administration accountable, something which is sure to play well with Kentucky voters (just 36 percent of Kentuckians approve of the job Biden is doing, while 60 percent disapprove). Over the past two years, his office filed lawsuits challenging Biden’s decisions to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline and terminate Title 42, among other litigation.

If Cameron does manage to unseat Beshear this fall, it would further solidify his status as a rising star within the Republican Party. Moreover, it would be a significant victory for the GOP and an auspicious sign heading into a pivotal general election cycle next year.

Andrew Abbott is the pen name of a writer and public affairs consultant with over a decade of experience in DC at the intersection of politics and culture.

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Stephen C.
Stephen C.
11 months ago

Who knew (outside of KY anyway)?
Great read and good to learn about another rising Black Conservative!
Here’s hoping the majority of voters in KY make the “right” choice in NOV!

anna hubert
anna hubert
11 months ago

Unless we run clean elections candidates and states do not matter

Fred Noel
Fred Noel
11 months ago

The GOP needs to study how the Democrats harvest ballots and get mules to stuff unsecured ballot drop boxes, along with the other means they used to successfully get away with massive fraud and corruption. Use the same tactics. If they do there will be more votes cast then there are register votes. Does anyone know the percentages of mail in ballots that went to wash party. That alone should cause an investigation if the percentages are way out of whack, which I believe they were.

Sharon Ormsby
Sharon Ormsby
11 months ago

What a great state. Never realized it was a Conservative state. Way to go Kentucky.

Moonpup
Moonpup
11 months ago

Don’t forget that Kentucky is represented in the Senate by Mitch McConnell – who’s been in that position since 1985 and is becoming more and more a RINO…but he’s 81 and older than Bidet. There’s no telling for whom the votes in Kentucky will be cast (or how many voters actually vote).

Nonie
Nonie
11 months ago

Wow fredf you are full of hate. All my liberal friends and relatives spew the same hate and intolerance. I couldn’t vote for any demoncrat but Praise God we live in a country that we have freedom of choice (at least until your party takes it from us). You need a ‘come to Jesus’ moment! The Bible is the only true book ever written as the author is God.

Festus
Festus
11 months ago

Doesn’t matter if the GOP wins or not. There isn’t one of them that has the balls to do anytrhing!!!

Philip Hammersley
Philip Hammersley
11 months ago

Baby Beshear only won by 1/2% last time; mainly because the woke NEA poured $$$ into his campaign! He’s another “legacy;” he “deserves to be guv because Daddy was!

Ann S
Ann S
11 months ago

Again I see personalities being compared. More than their platforms. The people have to understand that the state they live in also part is of the whole US of A. You vote carries a larger voice than just your neighborhood. This governor is okay with mutilating children all in the name of trans. But other mentally ill people are forgotten and they are killing other people every day.

Thelma Jones
Thelma Jones
11 months ago

Every state, city, and country have brilliant people and those who are not so smart. I would guess that you fall into the latter category. You seem to be a very angry little man!

Thomas Wuthrich
Thomas Wuthrich
11 months ago

It would’ve helpful if AMAC had included a link to a page where readers could contribute to AG Cameron’s campaign. I hoped I’d find an address in the video…but I didn’t see one.

Daniel
Daniel
11 months ago

I will vote for Cameron. But I believe Kentucky primary voters made a huge mistake. He was a clerk for Mitch he has Mitch McConnell chief of staff in charge of his campaign. He is a prodiche of Mitch. Mitch is anti Trump. Why Tump endorsed him is a mystery to me.

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