With Beshear absent, Cameron pitches himself as the rural candidate in farmer forum

Beshear campaign reiterates support for Kentucky farm families

By: - July 26, 2023 1:09 pm

Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron speaks at the Kentucky Farm Bureau Measure-the-Candidate forum. (Screenshot from KFB feed)

Values was the word of the day as Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron addressed a crowd of Kentucky Farm Bureau board members and employees in its Measure-the-Candidate forum. 

He pitched himself as a politician who embodies rural ideas and criticized the absence of his opponent in the gubernatorial race, incumbent Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear. 

“Of course, he will show up at the Ham Breakfast here in a few weeks, and he’ll lecture you on your values and tell you what his values are and try to bully you into thinking that your position in values should be different,” said Cameron, referring to an upcoming annual Kentucky State Fair event. “But I hope that you recognize that is not the way in which I operate, and I stand firmly with your values. I respect your values.” 

Beshear’s campaign did not specify why the governor didn’t attend.

Ahead of the forum, Cameron began his criticism of Beshear in a Tuesday statement, saying not going shows he “has turned his back on Kentucky’s farm families” and adding that it shouldn’t be surprising because “he’s been silent in the face of Joe Biden’s assault on them for years,” referring to inflation and regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency. 

Cameron has joined other attorneys general in pushing back against new EPA regulations, including leading a coalition of Republican state attorneys general to oppose policy that would cut vehicle tailpipe emissions

In response to Cameron’s criticism, Beshear campaign spokesman Alex Floyd said that Beshear “is proud of his record delivering record-setting economic growth for our rural communities and standing up to support Kentucky farmers, especially in the aftermath of devastating natural disasters,” a nod to recent flooding in Eastern Kentucky and tornadoes in Western Kentucky, both areas with rural communities. 

The Kentucky Farm Bureau, an insurance company that represents 462,000 Kentucky families and businesses, has regularly held its Measure-the-Candidate forum to have politicians discuss agriculture and farm issues. In 2019, during his first gubernatorial campaign, Beshear participated opposite former Republican Gov. Matt Bevin. 

On Wednesday, attendees asked Cameron about taxes on agriculture products and how he envisioned state agricultural dollars being used. In response, Cameron said he would work with the legislature on those policy decisions. Throughout his talk, he reiterated many of the same policy points that he’s laid out on the campaign trail, including support of work requirements for able-bodied individuals that receive Medicaid and eliminating the state income tax

Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear addresses a crowd at Sixth & Main Coffeehouse in Shelbyville. (Kentucky Lantern photo by McKenna Horsley)

During the Republican primary election, Cameron attended several debates and forums held with other candidates, but not all. Most notably, Kentucky Sports Radio host Matt Jones said the attorney general initially accepted but later backed out of the KSR debate

After a campaign stop in Shelbyville earlier this month, Beshear told reporters that he’s “certainly willing to participate in debates,” but had not received invitations yet. 

“But listen, a debate is when you have to talk about what you’re for, not who you’re against,” Beshear added. 

Both Beshear and Cameron, as well as their respective running mates, Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman and state Sen. Robby Mills, have agreed to appear at the Fancy Farm Picnic next week in Fancy Farm, a community in Graves County. The annual West Kentucky political spectacle is known for fiery candidate speeches and country fair flair as locals make heaps of barbecue all day long.Recently released polls on Kentucky’s governor race shows Cameron trailing Beshear by between 4 to 10 percentage points.

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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.