‘Law and order’ candidate Cameron comes to Bowling Green

Published 4:18 pm Monday, June 5, 2023

Kentucky gubernatorial hopeful Daniel Cameron made his first stop in Bowling Green following his win in the state’s Republican primary, declaring that it was time for Gov. Andy Beshear to find a new job.

“I understand I’m competing with the opening of Buc-ee’s,” the attorney general joked, referencing the groundbreaking of the massive convenience store in Smiths Grove.

The Republican candidate, speaking to a packed room at Hyatt Place Bowling Green, framed himself as the “law and order” candidate running against “catch-and-release” Beshear.

“The contrast between me and Andy Beshear will be very clear,” Cameron said. “It’s evident by the fact that in 2020, he let a bunch of folks out of jail.”

In August of 2020, Beshear signed an executive order to commute the sentences of inmates kept in overcrowded prisons to slow the spread of COVID-19. This followed a previous executive commutation in April.

According to a 2021 report by the Kentucky Department of Information and Technology Services, Research and Statistics, 815 of the 1,704 inmates whose sentences were commuted committed a new misdemeanor or felony.

Sen. Mike Wilson, R-Bowling Green, welcomed Cameron and took a jab at Beshear’s media image, saying that the news in Kentucky is worse than the governor is letting on.

“If you listen to the governor, he’s Mr. Rogers on TV. ‘Everything’s OK, everything’s hunky-dory,’ ” Wilson said. “But we know the truth. There are fewer people working today than there were when he took office. Crime is on the rise and it’s incredibly high.”

He said these things will all change under Cameron.

Cameron said Warren County could be the deciding factor come November’s election. Beshear won the county by just 1,131 votes over Matt Bevin in 2019.

“You all will make the difference between a win and a loss in November,” he said.

Joe Walden of Scottsville said he’s supported Cameron since 2019. He lent Mike Harmon his support in the primary, but said it’d be his dream for Cameron to choose Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles as running mate and have Quarles select Harmon as chief-of-staff.

Cameron had no news to share regarding his future lieutenant governor candidate.

“We’re in the process of considering who that person might be, and when we have a decision you’ll know,” he said.

There was other personnel news to share. Political operative Terry Carmack, who served as chief-of-staff to Sen. Mitch McConnell, has joined Cameron’s team.

“We’re happy to be adding Terry Carmack to Team Cameron in a senior management role,” Sean Southard, director of communications for the Republican party of Kentucky, said in a statement. “Daniel Cameron enjoys support from all wings of the Republican Party, from Donald Trump to Mitch McConnell. It’s all-hands-on-deck to defeat Joe Biden’s man, Andy Beshear.”

Cameron was also asked about Breonna Taylor, as Monday would have been her 30th birthday.

Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, was shot and killed by Louisville police officers in a no-knock search of her apartment in March of 2020.

It was up to Cameron’s office to determine if the LMPD officers involved in executing the warrant were liable for her death. Ultimately one officer, Brett Hankinson, was charged with wanton endangerment for a gunshot that went into a neighboring apartment.

According to The Associated Press, three of the jurors on the case’s grand jury later argued that Cameron’s staff “limited their scope and did not give them an opportunity to consider homicide charges against the police in Taylor’s death.”

“I haven’t heard a person in Kentucky who does not describe what happened as a tragedy,” Cameron said. “My responsibility as attorney general is to defend the laws and apply the laws that exist here in the commonwealth of Kentucky.”