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Cameron’s Capitol? A look inside his fiery campaign

Matthew Mueller
Kentucky 2023 gubernatorial candidate and Attorney General Daniel Cameron speaks on Monday, Oct, 23. 2023, before the fourth gubernatorial debate. Kentucky Lantern photo by Matthew Mueller

Editor’s note: The Kentucky Kernel was unable to meet one-on-one with the candidates. All information is cited from public events attended by Kernel staff and credible online sources.

With a gubernatorial history dominated by Democrats, Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron will face Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear in Kentucky’s governor race this November.  

Despite Cameron’s campaign efforts, the odds are not swaying his way as Beshear has a 16-point lead, only pulling 33% of voter support compared to Beshear’s 49%, according to a recent survey conducted by Emerson College

From church pews and kitchen tables, Cameron is attempting to persuade voters with campaign strategies rooted at the core of his political and moral values, focusing on issues surrounding employment, drug and crime rates, law enforcement support and education.  

With a staggering political and legal history, Cameron is the first Black ​American independently elected to statewide office in Kentucky history, also spending some of his years as legal counsel to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Around three years before assuming the role of Attorney General, the Kentucky Narcotics Officers Association named Cameron “Legislative Staffer of the Year” for his work as the spokesman for the Kentucky Smart on Crime Coalition, his attorney general website said.  

 During his “Only One” campaign video, Cameron said he sued Beshear’s team for not enforcing the abortion law. Additionally, he took Beshear and President Joe Biden to the state Supreme Court over COVID-19 masking policies, in an attempt to hold them accountable for violating state and federal law.

 Similarly, in his ad “Kitchen Table,” Cameron’s wife feeds their child in the background as he tells the viewers he has taken Biden to court 23 times over immigration policies, the abortion law, climate disagreements and COVID-19 vaccine requirements.

“I figure if we fight the radical liberals now, maybe kids like Theodore will still have the real America when it’s their turn,” Cameron said. 

Under Cameron’s vision for Kentucky, he plans to improve schools, build a stronger economy and create safe streets, according to his campaign website

“In a campaign of this magnitude, our people need to hear not only the case against Andy Beshear, but also what I intend to do as the next Governor of Kentucky,” Cameron said on his campaign website

 While not part of his original campaign, Cameron is now facing controversy surrounding his view on abortion laws. 

Cameron has historically expressed support for the current Kentucky trigger law and now softened his tone in response to a message from a rape victim in one of Beshear’s campaign ads.  

The trigger law in Kentucky bans abortion without the opportunity for services in the case of rape or incest.

 “I’ve said if the legislature were to bring me a bill with exceptions, I would sign it,” Cameron said in response to Beshear’s ad. 

 In the recent gubernatorial debate, Cameron criticized Beshear’s decision to close schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 “We need leadership that’s going to catch our kids up. Going to make sure we increase the salaries of our teachers, restore discipline to the classroom and remove any bureaucracy that might exist that disconnects our teachers from our students,” Cameron said. 

 Because of the prolonged closure of K-12 schools, Cameron is planning to introduce what he calls “The Cameron Catch-Up Plan” to improve the educational experience of students. 

 “(It) is an historic expansion of reading and math instruction, a restoration of order in the classroom, a concerted effort to reduce Kentucky’s epidemic of truancy, and a surge of resources directly to the teachers who deserve our respect and admiration,” according to Cameron’s campaign.  

His early efforts against the use of narcotics and reducing crime led to a campaign endorsement by the Kentucky Fraternal Order of Police, a pivotal step towards increasing safety in the streets. 

He also emphasized his support for “(backing) the blue” in a political advertisement which escalated tensions with some affected by the Breonna Taylor case. Taylor’s mother released an anti-Cameron campaign this past June, according to the Associated Press

Taylor was a 26-year-old woman killed in March of 2020 by Louisville Metro Police officers while they were serving a no-knock search warrant. She was unarmed, The Courier-Journal reported.  

Despite backlash, Cameron continues to push forth efforts toward fighting fentanyl and illegal drugs on the streets while also enacting stricter sentences for those imprisoned.  

“We can have a commonwealth that is about good quality schools, making sure that we stand up for our teachers, that we keep our streets safe from crime and drugs, and we get folks working again, and we eliminate Kentucky’s income tax,” Cameron said in the debate. “That’s where we can go together. I hope you will vote for me on Nov. 7.”

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Matthew Mueller, Photo Editor

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