Daniel Cameron, Kentucky’s attorney general and a close ally of Senator Mitch McConnell, won the Republican nomination for governor of the state on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported. .
Mr. Cameron’s double-digit victory makes it one of the most closely watched and hotly contested remaining statewide races in 2023. Governor Andy Beshear, a Democrat running for re-election, is one of the most popular governors in the country. , and even Republicans believe he will be hard-pressed to win in November.
Tuesday’s decision was a setback for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as he approaches an anticipated presidential campaign. On Monday, he had Mrs. Craft approvedIn June 2022 Mr. Former President Donald J. Cameron supported Cameron. The race suddenly turned into a proxy war between Trump and him.
But with 60 percent of the votes counted, Ms. Kraft, one of the nation’s largest Republican megadonor families, was leading Mr. He was far behind Cameron. He also trailed a third candidate, Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles.
Republicans have long criticized Mr. Cameron is seen as a potential political star who could join the party’s next generation of leaders. Mr. Cameron has had a track record — the first black elected attorney general in Kentucky and the first Republican elected to the position in 50 years — and his campaign is likely to draw support from activists and donors beyond Kentucky.
Mr. Part of Beshear’s strength stems from Republicans dominating the state. Because the party has a majority in the legislature, it is difficult for the governor to have much power without a veto. Nevertheless, Mr. It allowed Beshear to focus on using state resources to fix infrastructure and improve the economy.
In his primary contest on Tuesday, Mr. Beshear, largely silent during the Republican primary race, ran a measured digital advertising campaign focused on expanding voting rights and spearheading economic expansion in the state.
Mr. Although Cameron was elected as Kentucky’s attorney general in 2019, she burst onto the national stage with a prime-time speech during the 2020 Republican National Convention.
He immediately mr. He became a favorite of Trump supported his campaign Almost a year before the primary election. In 2020, Mr. Trump’s support Mr. Cameron focused.
Attorney General Mr. Cameron’s tenure included many conflicts with the central government. His fights include vaccine requirements for federal contractors and trying to prevent the Biden administration from allowing the expiration of Title 42, the Covid-19 Trump immigration policy that expired on Thursday. Including demanding new limits on abortion access, Mr. He has filed cases against Besher.
These legal battles became a cornerstone of his stump speech.
“When Governor Beshear decided to close the churches, I went to federal court and nine days later, the churches were reopened in Kentucky,” said Mr. Cameron said at a campaign stop in Shepherdsville last month, referring to early pandemic regulations.
Mr. McConnell’s former aide, Mr. Cameron, the powerful Senate minority leader and Mr. He was expected to enter the nomination on the back of his ties to Trump. But the race tightened after Mrs. Kraft, who is married to coal tycoon Joe Kraft, began pouring millions of her own money into the race. Mr. Cameron does not have the resources to keep pace.
The abrasive nature of the primary raised concerns among some Kentucky Republicans about their chances in the general election.
For nearly two months, Ms. Kraft was the only major candidate to have her or her allies’ ads on broadcast television. Together, he and his partners spent more than $7 million on advertising, compared to just $2.6 million for Mr. AdImpact, an ad-tracking firm, said the spending by Cameron and his supporters.
His campaign called Mr. attacked Cameron (the coal plant in question was in West Virginia) and reprimanded him for not fighting a Justice Department investigation into the Louisville Police Department. His residence was raided in 2020. He is Mr. sought to portray Cameron as a “follower”. A rare public study of the man who guided Kentucky politics for nearly 40 years.
Mr. Cameron received a late boost from Bluegrass Freedom Action, a coalition political action group that received most of its funding from the Concord Fund, which was founded by activist Leonard A. Part of a network of influential conservative groups managed by Leo. The group spent $2.1 million in the final six weeks of the primary, Mr. Aided Cameron and assaulted Mrs. Croft.