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AG Daniel Cameron clinches early Trump endorsement in Kentucky race for governor

Kyeland Jackson

Just over a month after Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron launched his 2023 run for governor, former President Donald Trump formally endorsed his campaign, snubbing the rest of the crowded Republican field.

In a release Cameron shared on Twitter, Trump wrote that a “young star is born before our very eyes.”

“At every level, Daniel has stood out, he will be a Great Governor of Kentucky, and has my complete and total endorsement!” Trump wrote in a release Cameron shared on Twitter.“ He is strong on the Military and our Vets, a Fierce Defender of our Borders, Protects the totally under-siege Second Amendment, and is a Crime Fighter who represents the absolute opposite of ‘Defund the Police.”

Trump’s endorsement is pretty early in the campaign season – the primary election is next May and the general election is in November 2023.

So far, three other high profile Republican candidates have launched campaigns – Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, Republican state Rep. Savannah Maddox and State Auditor Mike Harmon.

Trump’s former U.N. Ambassador Kelly Knight Craft has also strongly hinted that she will join the race, but the one-term president’s full-throated endorsement for Cameron raises questions over whether she will join the race.

The announcement came hours after Cameron’s campaign shared an internal poll claiming he has a commanding lead over other Republicans who have either joined the race or are considering it.

Touted as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s political apprentice, Cameron graduated from University of Louisville Law School and worked as McConnell’s legal counsel.

Cameron was the first Black Republican to be elected to statewide office on his own ticket in 2019 and quickly became a rising star in the Republican party. He spoke at the 2020 Republican National Convention and was included on the former president’s list of potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees during his reelection campaign.

If he wins the GOP primary, Cameron would likely face off against Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear, who is running unopposed in the primary.

Cameron has clashed with Beshear on an anti-abortion law that was struck down during former Republican Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration. He has also joined prominent lawsuits challenging vaccine mandates,clean air requirements and the results of the 2020 presidential election.

He drew national scrutiny in 2020 for his handling of the investigation into the police killing of Breonna Taylor, which led to the indictment of one officeron wanton endangerment charges, for endangering neighbors when he fired his weapon during the raid.

Though Republicans have outperformed Democrats in Kentucky statewide elections in recent years, Beshear has remained popular among voters according to recent polling.

Divya Karthikeyan covers Race & Equity for LPM.
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