Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron has taken steps to run for governor in 2023, joining two other Republican state officeholders looking to deny incumbent Democrat Andy Beshear a second term in office.
Cameron on Wednesday filed a Statement of Spending Intent form with the Secretary of State to declare that any money he raises and spends in 2023 will be in a gubernatorial run.
Cameron would face State Auditor Mike Harmon and Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles in the Republican primary. Harmon was the first Republican to officially enter the race. He announced last October. Quarles made his announcement on May 2.
Like Quarles, Cameron has been a steadfast critic of Beshear’s policies — especially COVID-19 restrictions that Beshear implemented through executive orders and said were necessary to prevent more deaths during the pandemic. Cameron challenged Beshear in court, and the General Assembly curtailed gubernatorial emergency order powers.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Cameron had not spoken publicly about a gubernatorial run.
Kentucky Democratic Party Chairman Colmon Eldridge issued a statement saying there is a clear contrast between Cameron and Beshear. He described Cameron as having a “weak record of protecting Kentucky children, seniors and survivors” and said Beshear is one of the country’s most popular governors because of “strong leadership that is taking Kentucky from difficult years of a pandemic and devastating storms into record breaking economic development …”
Cameron, 36, is from Elizabethtown. He was elected Kentucky’s first Black attorney general in 2019. Prior to running for state office, he was general counsel to U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell. He has been mentioned as a possible successor to McConnell when the Senate Republican leader retires.
He received national attention in 2020 as a speaker at the Republican National Convention, where he praised Donald Trump and criticized “the politics of identity, cancellation and mob rule” as protests erupted over allegations of police brutality around the country. His office investigated the killing of Breonna Taylor by Louisville police in 2020; he did not recommend a grand jury indictment of officers present when she died.