Daniel Cameron stops in Boone County on campaign trail

Mark Payne
Mark Payne
Mark Payne is the government and politics reporter for LINK nky. Email him at [email protected].

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At his first general election campaign event in Northern Kentucky as the GOP gubernatorial nominee, Daniel Cameron ran through a list of campaign talking points similar to what he provided on the primary campaign trail. 

Cameron talked about his fight as attorney general against the opioid scourge in the Commonwealth, his battle against Gov. Andy Beshear over the COVID-19 shutdowns, and his concern that top Democrats in Washington and Kentucky are causing friction with the values of average Kentuckians. 

The messaging resonated with Andrew Cole from Boone County, who said Cameron’s values are staunchly Kentuckian and Northern Kentuckian and are in stark contrast with the values of Democratic incumbent Beshear. 

“He’s in alignment with the legislature that has gone to supermajorities,” he said. 

The Kentucky Senate stands at 31-7 Republicans to Democrats. The House stands at 80 to 20. 

“It’s really trending that (Republican) direction, so it just makes sense that the governor’s office is going to follow and match that — it’s inevitable,” he said. 

The visit comes as the campaigns of both Beshear and Cameron are kicking into high gear, something not common in the Commonwealth right after a primary election — Beshear made his first visit to the region the Sunday after the May 16 primary. 

Typically, campaigns accelerate in August, after Fancy Farm — the state’s political picnic in Fancy Farm, Kentucky, that allows a unique version of retail politics where politicians roast each other during a live audience cheers and boos.

But, both campaigns aren’t wasting time in what they see as a fight for the top seat in Kentucky politics and what will be one of the most-watched gubernatorial campaigns in the country this year.

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“If you don’t take anything else away from what I say today, that come November, we will retire Andy Beshear,” Cameron said. 

While Cameron gave his stump speech to a large crowd at the Boone County Courthouse, with Republicans from across Northern Kentucky appearing in the room, Beshear’s campaign sent an email about Cameron and his connection to U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell. 

“Andy’s opponent, Daniel Cameron, has a lot of resources in his pocket,” the email reads. “Known as Mitch McConnell’s protégé, Cameron has the support of outside groups who are going to spend millions to attack Andy.” 

Cameron’s connection to McConnell is something that came up at a campaign event in Covington during the primary. At the time, Cameron said his only allegiance was to the state constitution. 

Bill Kunkel — a leader in the Boone County Republican Party — told Cameron in April at an event in Covington that when he’s putting out signs, he often hears questions about Cameron’s connection to McConnell, and said he wants to defend Cameron to voters.

The Boone County Republican Party also censured McConnell in 2022 — a symbolic move to show their disdain for Kentucky’s senior senator. 

“I make decisions based on the law and our constitutional rights,” Cameron said of the McConnel connection, highlighted due to his attendance in the McConnell Scholar Program at the University of Louisville. 

Cameron successfully kept the connection distant during the primary. Still, the link resurfaced this week somewhat significantly when Politico reported that Terry Carmack, a McConnell staffer who helped the senator on four campaigns, is now on Cameron’s campaign staff. 

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After the event, Cameron said he thinks his campaign’s momentum will resonate with all Republicans. 

“You can find a home in this campaign whether you are a pro-life Republican, whether you are a Trump Republican, whether you are someone who is a Senator McConnell Republican or Chamber of Commerce Republican, anybody, a Tea Party, a Liberty Republican,” Cameron said. 

Brandon Long from Fort Thomas holds Andy Beshear signs outside a campaign stop for the GOP nominee, Daniel Cameron. Photo by Mark Payne | LINK nky

Outside the event, a Beshear supporter stood with Andy Beshear signs. 

Brandon Long from Fort Thomas showed up for Breonna Taylor – the woman killed by Louisville police in 2020, and in which Cameron gained national attention for investigating the case.

Protesters and Taylor’s family have blamed Cameron for not filing charges, though one officer was indicted for wanton endangerment.

“This week would have been her 30th birthday, and she needs representation,” Long said. 

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