‘Big matchup:’ Cameron launches campaign tour against Beshear

Published 9:11 am Monday, June 5, 2023

Republican governor nominee Daniel Cameron greets supporters at his Shelbyville campaign event Friday, June 2, 2023. (Sarah Michels, Bowling Green Daily News)

SHELBYVILLE — About a hundred people dressed mostly in red, white and blue sang along to “Proud to Be an American” at Stratton Community Center in Shelby County as they waited for Daniel Cameron to arrive.

Cameron, Kentucky attorney general and the Republican nominee for governor, was in Shelbyville on Friday for his third campaign stop of the day, after Richmond and London.

He was joined by state representatives Kevin Bratcher, R-Louisville, and Jennifer Decker, R-Waddy.

Cameron’s remarks focused on Gov. Andy Beshear’s missteps during his first term, from the Republican party’s perspective.

“Some folks will talk about, you know, Daniel’s going to try to nationalize this race,” he said. “But I don’t have to nationalize this race because I can talk specifically about what Andy Beshear has done over these last three years.”

Cameron has criticized Beshear for his leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic in television ads and during the primary. He continued that trend in Shelby County.

He said that while some people argue Beshear is “compassionate,” he doesn’t think his actions support that.

“There’s no compassion in telling folks in the midst of a pandemic that they cannot go to church,” he said. “There’s nothing compassionate about telling small businesses that they may have to shut down but big businesses can stay open. And there is nothing compassionate about a governor who will not speak up for parents and grandparents who recognize that their children have experienced learning loss.”

Cameron alleged that Kentucky workforce participation is down and violent crime is up since Beshear took office in 2019, several months before the pandemic.

“We can have that better and brighter version of Kentucky, we can have a Commonwealth in which we keep our streets safe from crime and drugs, we can have the Commonwealth in which we make sure that our state is never shut down again,” he said. “That is what is at stake in this race and you all in this room are going to be the difference between a win or loss in November.”

The race for governor may be close, five months out from Election Day. A June 1 Republican poll showed both Beshear and Cameron polling at 47%, with 7% of voters undecided.

While Beshear was recently named the most popular Democratic governor in the country, Cameron has the advantage of a red state that overwhelmingly voted Republican in the 2020 presidential election.

He also has former President Donald Trump’s endorsement, which may have contributed to his easy primary win against Ryan Quarles, Kelly Craft and several other opponents.

Cameron did not say who his running mate would be, but that his team is working through the selection process.

Kentucky is one of three states holding a gubernatorial election this year, which will likely attract national attention, figures and resources.

“I think this is a big race here in Kentucky, and it’s going to be a bellwether for 2024 in many ways, and so I hope that folks are paying attention to this race,” Cameron said. “It’s a big matchup.”

In 2020, Cameron attracted national attention in his role as attorney general. His office investigated the Breonna Taylor case to determine whether officers who executed the search warrant were criminally responsible for Taylor’s death.

Breonna Taylor was a Black woman who was shot and killed by Louisville police officers in March 2020. Law enforcement got a no-knock search warrant for her apartment as part of a drug investigation.

When officers entered the apartment, Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker shot at them, thinking they were intruders. Several officers shot back, and Taylor was hit by six bullets.

Cameron’s office presented information to a grand jury, which charged one of the officers, Brett Hankison, with wanton endangerment for a gunshot that ended up in the neighbor’s apartment, but made no other charges.

Since, the grand jury process has been questioned by several jurors, who say they were not given the opportunity by Cameron’s office to make homicide charges against the officers.

Taylor’s death led to protests in Louisville and across the nation. Cameron said he didn’t know what impact Breonna Taylor’s case would have on his campaign, but defended his office’s investigation.

“If the governor and the far left want to continue to talk about it, they certainly can,” he said. “And we’re gonna continue to stand up for the laws and the constitutional rights of our citizens and continue to defend those laws and do my job without fear or favor.”