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Andy Beshear to face Daniel Cameron in 2023 race for Kentucky governor

Attorney General Daniel Cameron at the Republicans' 2019 Election Party
Attorney General Daniel Cameron at the Republicans' 2019 Election Party

Attorney General Daniel Cameron beat 11 competitors to secure the Republican nomination in Kentucky’s race for governor. He’ll face incumbent Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear in the November general election.

The Associated Press called the race for Cameron, who was endorsed by former president Donald Trump, with about 45% of votes. At the time, Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles had 21% of the vote and former United Nations Ambassador Kelly Craft had 18%.

Beshear easily won the Democratic nomination with 93% of votes when the Democratic race was called early in the 7:00 hour.

This year’s gubernatorial race is particularly consequential, as Kentucky’s electorate has become increasingly Republican in recent years. Voters will decide in November whether Democrats will keep the state’s highest office.

In the lead-up to Election Day, both Cameron and Craft tried to galvanize voters by bringing in major national names in GOP politics.

Trump campaigned for Cameron at a tele-rally on the weekend before the election. Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is expected to soon announce his candidacy for the 2024 presidential election, endorsed Craft last-minute on Monday. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz also campaigned with Craft on Saturday.

Campaigning for the GOP nomination involved heated debates between the frontrunners, each of whom tried to position as the most likely to unseat Beshear. The candidates repeatedly decried gun control measures and abortion access, while diverging in their views on certain legislative proposals like the auctioning of confiscated guns.

Discussion of a so-called “woke agenda,” a national Republican rallying cry, also took center stage in the GOP candidates’ platforms.

Craft, in particular, made anti-transgender rhetoric a key component of her campaign. She faced criticism for stating Kentucky would “not have transgenders in our school system” if she were elected governor.

Kentucky Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams warned of low voter turnout ahead of Election Day. Stormy conditions in much of the state may have further deterred voters from heading to the polls.

The General Election is on Nov. 7.

Danielle Kaye
Danielle Kaye (she/her) is a 2022-2023 Kroc Fellow. Before joining NPR, Kaye worked as a business reporter at Reuters, where she covered compensation policies and union organizing at technology and retail companies. She graduated from UC Berkeley in 2021 with degrees in Global Studies and French. While studying in Berkeley, Kaye reported and produced for listener-funded radio station KPFA, covering protests and housing issues in California for KPFA's morning public affairs show. She was also a researcher at UC Berkeley's Human Rights Investigations Lab and a news reporter and editor at the student-run newspaper The Daily Californian. Kaye lived with a host family in Dakar, Senegal, in 2019, which inspired her to write her senior thesis about threats to Senegal's artisanal fishing communities.
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