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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
J. Tyler Franklin
Attorney General Daniel Cameron at the Republicans' 2019 Election Party

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. In an interview with KET shortly after his win, Beshear emphasized his commitment to economic development.

“It shouldn’t be about me or any of my opponents. It should be about the people of Kentucky,” Beshear said. “I want to be the governor that turns our brain drain into a brain gain.”

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.