Daniel Cameron, ally of Mitch McConnell, wins GOP primary for Kentucky governor

Daniel Cameron, Kentucky’s attorney general and a close ally of Senator Mitch McConnell, won the Republican nomination for governor of the state on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported. .

Mr. Cameron’s double-digit victory makes it one of the most closely watched and hotly contested remaining statewide races in 2023. Governor Andy Beshear, a Democrat running for re-election, is one of the most popular governors in the country. , and even Republicans believe he will be hard-pressed to win in November.

Tuesday’s decision was a setback for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as he approaches an anticipated presidential campaign. On Monday, he had Mrs. Craft approvedIn June 2022 Mr. Former President Donald J. Cameron supported Cameron. The race suddenly turned into a proxy war between Trump and him.

In his victory speech on Tuesday night, Mr. Cameron said “the Trump culture of winning is alive and well in Kentucky” — which Mr. Latest comments Criticized the “losing culture” of the Republican Party.

With more than 90 percent of the votes counted, Ms. Kraft, one of the nation’s largest Republican megadonor families, beat Mr. He trailed Cameron by roughly 30 percentage points. He was behind a third candidate, Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles.

Republicans have long criticized Mr. Cameron is seen as a potential political star who could join the party’s next generation of leaders. Mr. Cameron has had a track record — the first black elected attorney general in Kentucky and the first Republican elected to the position in 50 years — and his campaign is likely to draw support from activists and donors beyond Kentucky.

Mr. Cameron turned to the general election in his victory speech. “The left’s new religion casts doubt on America’s greatness,” he said. “They embrace an image of this country and this commonwealth that is rooted in divisiveness, hostile to faith and committed to the destruction of our education system.”

And he took aim at his November opponent: “Andy Beshear resigned to living in a Commonwealth with high violent crime and low labor force participation rates. He is content to preside over the abandonment of our inner cities and the destruction of our rural communities.

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Mr. Part of Beshear’s strength stems from Republicans dominating the state. Because the party has a majority in the legislature, it is difficult for the governor to have much power without a veto. Nevertheless, Mr. It allowed Beshear to focus on using state resources to fix infrastructure and improve the economy.

In his primary contest on Tuesday, Mr. Beshear, who has been largely silent during the battle for Republicans, has run a measured digital advertising campaign focused on expanding voting rights and his record of leading economic expansion in the state.

“I am honored to be your Democratic nominee for governor of Kentucky,” Mr. Beshear He wrote on Twitter Tuesday night. “Together, we are going to continue to build on the progress of the last 3 years – our Commonwealth will move not left or right, but forward. Let’s do this.”

And in his victory speech, Mr. Beshear tried to project an upbeat tone, and said the Republican candidates were a stark contrast to him. “They’re trying to pit us against each other,” he said, “calling anyone who disagrees with them names and yelling, even saying it’s okay to hate your fellow man. We’re much stronger than that.

Mr. Although Cameron was elected as Kentucky’s attorney general in 2019, she burst onto the national stage with a prime-time speech during the 2020 Republican National Convention.

He immediately mr. He became a favorite of Trump supported his campaign Almost a year before the primary election. In 2020, Mr. Trump’s support Mr. Cameron focused.

Attorney General Mr. Cameron’s tenure included many conflicts with the central government. His fights include vaccine requirements for federal contractors and trying to prevent the Biden administration from allowing the expiration of Title 42, the Covid-19 Trump immigration policy that expired on Thursday. Including demanding new limits on abortion access, Mr. He has filed cases against Besher.

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These legal battles became a cornerstone of his stump speech.

“When Governor Beshear decided to close the churches, I went to federal court and nine days later, the churches were reopened in Kentucky,” said Mr. Cameron said at a campaign stop in Shepherdsville last month, referring to early pandemic regulations.

Mr. McConnell’s former aide, Mr. Cameron, the powerful Senate minority leader and Mr. He was expected to enter the nomination on the back of his ties to Trump. But the race tightened after Mrs. Kraft, who is married to coal tycoon Joe Kraft, began pouring millions of her own money into the race. Mr. Cameron does not have the resources to keep pace.

The abrasive nature of the primary raised concerns among some Kentucky Republicans about their chances in the general election.

For nearly two months, Ms. Kraft was the only major candidate to have her or her allies’ ads on broadcast television. Together, he and his partners spent more than $7 million on advertising, compared to just $2.6 million for Mr. AdImpact, an ad-tracking firm, said the spending by Cameron and his supporters.

His campaign called Mr. attacked Cameron (the coal plant in question was in West Virginia) and reprimanded him for not fighting a Justice Department investigation into the Louisville Police Department. His residence was raided in 2020. He is Mr. sought to portray Cameron as a “follower”. A rare public study of the man who guided Kentucky politics for nearly 40 years.

Mr. Cameron received a late boost from Bluegrass Freedom Action, a coalition political action group that received most of its funding from the Concord Fund, which was founded by activist Leonard A. Part of a network of influential conservative groups managed by Leo. The group spent $2.1 million in the final six weeks of the primary, Mr. Aided Cameron and assaulted Mrs. Croft.

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According to The Associated Press, a special election in one district could have turned the state House over to Republicans.

Leading Democrats President Biden And Governor Josh Shapiro, urged voters to rally to Heather Boyd, the party’s three-way candidate. They see the election as crucial to protecting reproductive rights in Pennsylvania, where Republicans will try to use their legislative majority to circumvent the governor’s veto power by putting an abortion ban on the ballot.

A former legislative aide and one-time teacher, Ms. Boyd defeated Katie Ford, a Republican with a background as a combat medic for the U.S. Army Reserve and an academic.

Mr. Shapiro hailed a decision Register on Twitter. “Heather Boyd is a teacher, mom and public servant — and now, she’s Delaware County’s newest state representative,” she wrote. “We will work together to get things done for Pennsylvanians and protect true freedom. And to Delco: Thank you for showing up to protect our rights and the Democratic majority.

The special election in the 163rd Assembly District in southeastern Delaware County was prompted by the March resignation of Democrat Mike Zabel. Alleged harassment.

In another special state House election Tuesday, Republicans retained control of the 108th Assembly District in north-central Pennsylvania as Republican school board member and firefighter Michael Stender won a three-candidate race.

The safe GOP seat opened up this year when longtime incumbent Linda Schlegel Culver resigned after winning the vacant state Senate seat.

Democrat Donna Deegan is running for mayor of Jacksonville, Fla., against Mr. He defeated Republican Daniel Davis with DeSantis’ support. Mr. Davis agreed Tuesday evening race.

Ms. Deegan is the first woman to lead her city as mayor. “We made history tonight,” she said Victory speech. “It’s a brand new day for Jacksonville, Florida.”

Neil Victor Contributed report.

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