National attention on Kentucky race for Governor

National interest in the Cameron/Beshear matchup is a possible test of GOP stamina in a reliably red state.
Published: May. 17, 2023 at 4:34 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - During his acceptance speech for the Republican nomination for Governor, Attorney General Daniel Cameron thanked President Donald Trump for his endorsement.

“Let me just say the Trump culture of winning is alive and well in Kentucky,” Cameron said.

His words were met with loud cheers from the primary night crowd.

Afterward, a headline in the Washington Post described the GOP candidate as the “Trump-backed Cameron.”

A New York Times headline labeled him “ally of Mitch McConnell.”

National interest in the Cameron/Beshear matchup is a possible test of GOP stamina in a reliably red state.

“Once Trump won in 2016, the pushback has been hard and consistent and Republicans have lost more often than they have won,” UK Political Science Associate Professor Stephen Voss said. “As far as Kentucky seems to be fitting into that pattern a bit, yes, I think the results here are a bit telling.”

After defying the odds in 2019 with a win over Trump-backed Incumbent Matt Bevin, Andy Beshear emerged in 2023 as America’s most popular Democratic Governor.

Polling by Morning Consult showed Beshear with a 60 percent approval rating among Kentucky voters.

“We have a Democratic governor who is more popular even among Republicans than our Republican Senator Mitch McConnell,” former KY District 3 Congressman Mike Ward said. “Andy Beshear is a unicorn in some ways, and that is going to get a lot of attention.”

“The new religion of the left casts doubt on the greatness of America,” Cameron said Tuesday night. “They embrace a picture of this country, and this commonwealth that is rooted in division, that is hostile to faith, and is committed to the erosion of our education system. Andy Beshear is resigned to live in a commonwealth where violent crime is high, and the workforce participation rate is low.”

“You saw a Republican primary where they were all calling each other ‘woke,’ and running each other down and slinging mud,” Beshear said. “That’s not what these things are supposed to be about. It’s about the people, it’s about families. You have got to be talking about the creation of jobs and healthcare. I think candidates that truly care about our families focus on those things that matter most.”