On the campaign trail, Cameron vows to retire Beshear in governor race

Ahead of Trump’s court appearance, Cameron says Kentuckians have ‘concerns about the weaponization of government power’

By: - June 13, 2023 5:50 pm

Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron, right, shakes hands with supporters during a June 13 campaign stop. (Kentucky Lantern photo by McKenna Horsley)

SHEPHERDSVILLE — Republican Daniel Cameron’s stump speech Tuesday in Shepherdsville hit familiar themes — his Christian faith, conservative values, criticism of his rival, Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear. 

But there was one big departure — the attorney general did not highlight his endorsement from former President Donald Trump, who was set to appear in a Miami courtroom almost two hours later.

The campaign stop, which had a packed room at The Fish House Bar & Grill in Shepherdsville, was one of several the attorney general has made since winning the Republican nomination for governor. Last week, he went to Elizabethtown, Bowling Green and Owensboro. 

“If you all don’t take anything else from what I say today, I want to be painstakingly clear on one thing: We will retire Andy Beshear from the governor’s office,” Cameron said to cheers from the room.

During a Shepherdsville campaign stop, Daniel Cameron addresses potential voters. (Kentucky Lantern photo by McKenna Horsley)

Cameron bested 11 other candidates in a crowded Republican gubernatorial primary with 48% of the vote about a month ago. Throughout the long primary season, he repeatedly brought attention to Trump’s support of his candidacy. Trump endorsed Cameron early on in the race. The former president is facing felony charges after he was accused of illegally hoarding classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. He pleaded not guilty Tuesday afternoon.

When asked about his reaction to the latest indictment by reporters, Cameron said he is focusing on the general election and defeating Beshear. 

“I continue to say that Kentuckians have concerns about the weaponization of government power,” Cameron said. “And we’ve talked a lot about Hunter Biden and Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton, but there’s been no indictments there. And so I think a lot of Kentuckians have concerns about whether there are two different justice systems depending on who you are.”

His response mirrored his statement reported by the Lexington Herald-Leader and the Louisville Courier-Journal last week after news of the indictment broke. 

Cameron also talked about education during his stop, saying Beshear’s approach has been “hostile to the teachers of Kentucky.” Cameron then referred to comments from Education Commissioner Jason Glass saying that teachers should follow their school districts’ policies when addressing transgender students as part of their employment. The issue has become a Republican talking point both among gubernatorial candidates and in the state legislature

Around 100 supporters attended Cameron’s Tuesday stop, which was in Bullitt County and about 30 minutes from downtown Louisville. The restaurant was packed with Republican voters, law enforcement officials, members of the General Assembly and local government leaders, including Bullitt County Judge-Executive Jerry Summers, who introduced Cameron. 

After a campaign event, Daniel Cameron poses with supporters for a photo. (Kentucky Lantern photo by McKenna Horsley)

Danny and Sherrie Oldham, who are from Spencer County, attended the event because they wanted to display their support for the attorney general. They said he was their pick during the primary election. After Cameron addressed the crowd, they said they liked what he said about abortion and issues with Beshear. 

“We need a true leader, somebody who’s going to stand up to the far-left and bring us back to where we need to be,” Sherrie said. “The last three years, we have gotten way off the path.” 

Cameron told reporters Tuesday that he is still deciding on a running mate. Kentucky state law allows candidates for governor to designate their lieutenant governor pick by the second Tuesday in August, which is Aug. 8 this year.

The general election is expected to be expensive. Another round of campaign finance reports are due within the next few days. According to Medium Buying, the Beshear campaign has spent $1.61 million on TV and radio ads. DGA-affiliated Defending Bluegrass Values has spent $1.33 million and Pro-Beshear PAC Preserve, Protect and Defend has spent $47,000. Republican Governors Association’s State Solutions has spent $419,000 on TV and radio ads. 

In his final remarks to the crowd, Cameron turned his attention toward November and encouraged volunteering with his campaign or spreading the word to others. 

“There are 21 weeks essentially left in this race for governor,” he said. “I want you all to put it all on the line.” 

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McKenna Horsley
McKenna Horsley

McKenna Horsley covers state politics for the Kentucky Lantern. She previously worked for newspapers in Huntington, West Virginia, and Frankfort, Kentucky. She is from northeastern Kentucky.