Kenton County GOP on Cameron nomination: He’s run a great campaign

Kenton Hornbeck
Kenton Hornbeck
Kenton is a reporter for LINK nky. Email him at [email protected]

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Voters across the commonwealth took to the polls to cast their votes in the primary election, setting the stage for an eagerly anticipated gubernatorial showdown in November.

Key members of the Kenton County Republican Party gathered at The Globe in Covington to take in the primary results. 

Polls closed at 6 p.m.

“We’ve got a really great strong young slate of candidates,” Kenton County GOP Chair Shane Noem told LINK nky. “I think it shows that suburban voters, rural voters are all hungry for new voices.”

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron secured a victory in the Republican Party primary. He will face incumbent Gov. Andy Beshear in the general election on Nov. 7. The Associated Press called the race for Cameron at 7:11 p.m.

“I think the polls have been saying for a while that the momentum was with Daniel Cameron,” Noem said. “I think he’s run a great campaign. He’s got the national star power from his experience. I think, you know, not a lot of surprises coming out of tonight. It’s really energizing and mobilizing as we focus on taking down Gov. Beshear in the fall.”

Rep. Stephanie Dietz (R-Edgewood) echoed Noem’s sentiment.

“I’m just excited to get behind our Republican nominee and it’s Daniel — I think he’s a great candidate, and I’m happy to get behind him 100%,” Dietz said.

Cameron won the county by a wide margin, defeating former US Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft by over 20 percentage points. Former Northern Kentucky attorney and Independence resident Eric Deters finished in third place while Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles finished in fourth.

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In the Secretary of State race, former Erlanger city councilman Steve Knipper narrowly defeated incumbent Michael Adams in Kenton County by less than a percentage point, despite Adams winning overall.

Voter turnout was top of mind for Kenton County Republican leadership. Approximately 11% of all registered voters in the county cast a ballot in the primary election. Republican voter turnout was stronger than previous primary elections with a little over 17% of registered Republicans casting a ballot.

“It’s higher than what it’s been in primaries,” Dietz said. “It’s not where we should be but I’m glad that is where it is.”

Kenton County GOP voters turned out more than they have in any past primary election of the 21st century. Since 2003, the county’s Republican voter turnout percentage hasn’t eclipsed 15%. Two factors that could have influenced higher turnout among Kenton County Republicans are the candidacy of Deters who is a native of Kenton County and the 2023 Republican primary’s historically large field of 12 candidates.

“On the constitutional officers cycle versus the midterm and the presidential, we have historically lower turnout,” Noem said. “Looking at the last five election cycles for governor’s races, we range statewide between 19 and 13%. For Kenton to be coming in at 17% when it’s looking like the state average is a little lower than that, it’s great. That means Kenton County voters are fired up and ready to replace Andy Beshear.”

Ten percent of registered Democrats showed up to the polls, although there were only two races for them to vote on: Commissioner of Agriculture and Governor.

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Looking at other key races, the Secretary of State race was called for incumbent Michael Adams who defeated Knipper. Former Treasurer Allison Ball defeated challenger Derek Petteys in the race for Auditor. Attorney Mark Metcalf defeated O.J. Oleka and Andrew Cooperrider in the treasurer’s race. In the Agriculture Commissioner’s race, Jonathan Shell is leading over Richard Heath.

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