A screenshot of the new Beshear ad. Hadley Duvall chose to be identified and has spoken out publicly about what she experienced and its connection to the debate over abortion, reports the Associated Press.
LOUISVILLE — Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s reelection campaign on Wednesday dropped a second ad slamming Republican Daniel Cameron’s stance on abortion, eliciting an accusation from Cameron that Beshear is “running the most despicable campaign in Kentucky history.”
Hours later, the candidates did not directly address the clash during a business forum held in downtown Louisville.
The Beshear’s campaign’s TV spot features a rape victim identified in the ad as Hadley of Owensoboro who says she was sexually abused as a child by her stepfather.
Gov. Andy Beshear and Attorney General Daniel Cameron have agreed to the following joint appearances, according to their campaigns:
- Gubernatorial Lunch Forum, hosted by the Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce and WPSD, Thursday, Oct. 12, noon CT
- KET Debate Monday, Oct. 23 at 8 p.m. ET
- The Kentucky Debate hosted by WKYT, Tuesday, Oct. 24, 7 p.m. ET
Their running mates, Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman and Sen. Robby Mills agreed to a debate hosted by KET on Oct. 30.
“This is to you, Daniel Cameron,” she says, speaking to the camera. “To tell a 12-year-old girl she must have the baby of her stepfather who raped her is unthinkable.”
The Associated Press reports that Hadley Duvall chose to be identified and has spoken out publicly about what she experienced and its connection to the debate over abortion. Her stepfather pleaded guilty to raping her and was sentenced to prison.
It’s the second ad from the Beshear campaign pressing Cameron on abortion. The first ad, released early this month, features a Jefferson County prosecutor who claims that Cameron believes nine-year-old rape victims “should be forced to give birth.”
Kentucky’s near total ban on abortion, which took effect after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to abortion last year, has no exceptions for rape, incest or fetal anomalies and allows a pregnancy to be terminated only when the pregnant person’s life is at risk.
On Monday, Cameron — the state’s attorney general and a staunch defender of the abortion ban in court and during the Republican primary — for the first time publicly expressed support for exceptions in cases of rape and incest. In a radio interview, Cameron said that he would sign legislation creating exceptions if enacted by the General Assembly. In the past, he’s said he supports the law as it is.
In response to the new ad Wednesday, Cameron quickly responded in a social media video and statement. He called the new ad false and said the governor is “running the most despicable campaign in Kentucky history.”
Last fall, Kentucky voters rejected an amendment that would have specified there’s no right to an abortion in Kentucky’s Constitution. Republican House Whip Jason Nemes proposed a bill in this year’s legislative session to add exceptions for rape and incest, but it did not advance.
During the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Meeting at the Omni Louisville Hotel in Louisville, Cameron briefly referenced the ad when he was asked to say one nice thing about Beshear, saying that he would have had more to say until “he ran that ad against me today.” Both did recall their time working together at law firm Stites & Harbison in their respective answers..
With only 48 days left before the general election on Nov. 7, the forum marked the first of several upcoming debate and forum appearances both candidates have agreed to over the next few weeks.
The candidates received questions about their economic stances during the forum. Each had 30-minutes to take questions from a moderator and respond. Both reiterated talking points they’ve highlighted on the campaign trail.
Cameron emphasized his support for lowering the state income tax, his good relationship with the Republican supermajority in the General Assembly and likened his opponent to national Democratic figures like President Joe Biden and California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
“Our current governor has been silent because he cannot speak out against the Biden administration or the far-left within his party,” Cameron said when discussing his support for Kentucky’s coal and fossil fuel industries. “I’m willing to do that. I’m willing to speak out and stand up for those signature industries, because it is important that we hold on to those and we maintain those jobs.”
But Beshear insisted that he has stood up for Kentucky’s coal industry as governor and attorney general. He added that he supports a mix of traditional and future sources of energy.
Beshear also defended his previous vetoes of two bill cutting the state income tax. The governor said the first bill he rejected lowered the income tax while increasing sales taxes and the second was an “extreme reduction.” Earlier this year, he signed legislation lowering the state income tax.
Beshear also stressed some of his campaign themes, including bringing new businesses and infrastructure to the state, public education and leading Kentuckians through natural disasters and the coronavirus pandemic.
“The way we catch up a kid in math is to make sure there’s a math teacher there every day,” Beshear said when he was asked about how he would make up for learning loss experienced by students during the coronavirus pandemic.
Cameron’s education plan is called the “Cameron Catch-up” plan.
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