Daniel Cameron, the Kentucky attorney general who declined to prosecute the cops who killed Breonna Taylor and who has since become a rising star in the Republican Party, is officially kicking off his general campaign for governor of Kentucky.
Cameron officially won the Republican primary last week and will now try to defeat Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear. Cameron’s race comes as one of several in which prominent Black Republicans seek higher office.
Rose to prominence in 2020
Daniel Cameron, who won the Kentucky Republican primary on May 16, entered the national spotlight in 2020 when he declined to bring indictments against the police officers involved in the killing of Breonna Taylor. This move, roundly criticized by people demanding justice for Taylor, helped make Cameron a darling within GOP circles; he was even reported to be on then-President Donald Trump’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees. In his current race for governor, Cameron gained Trump’s endorsement, which helped him emerge from a crowded field of a dozen Republican candidates. Last Tuesday, Cameron, who has also been supported by fellow Kentuckian and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, officially defeated his GOP opponents, setting up a showdown with Beshear in November.
Downplaying racism, highlighting American Dream
Cameron evoked Martin Luther King Jr. in his victory speech last week, arguing that Kentucky voters judged him by the content of his character and not the color of his skin. He added, “To anyone who looks like me, know that you can achieve anything,” nodding to the American Dream as the cornerstone of his campaign.
ICYMI: one week ago today I secured the Republican nomination for governor. Republicans are United. Kentuckians are United.
We need a governor who represents Kentucky values, not those of California and New York. Check out my victory speech. ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/CLPUcbeFIg
— Daniel Cameron (@DanielCameronAG) May 23, 2023
Cameron followed up his win by appearing on Fox News. While talking to host Laura Ingraham, he argued Republican talking points against COVID-19 lockdowns and “gender ideology.” Ingraham, meanwhile, warned Cameron that “liberal African Americans are quite nervous about you,” while Cameron said he sought to appeal to Black Republicans in Kentucky.
— Daniel Cameron (@DanielCameronAG) May 18, 2023
Potential Black Republican wave?
Cameron is Kentucky’s first Black attorney general. Should he win in November, he would become the state’s first Black governor. In fact, only six Black people have served as governor of any state, including current Maryland Gov. Wes Moore, a first-term Democrat. Cameron is one of several Black Republicans running major campaigns over the next two years. North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, who has criticized everything from the nation’s COVID response to reparations to the movie “Black Panther,” is a frontrunner for that state’s GOP nomination for governor in next year’s election. And South Carolina’s Tim Scott, currently the only Black Republican in the U.S. Senate, officially announced this week that he is running for president of the United States.
We will soon see whether or not Cameron will lead a wave of Black Republicans to higher office. The Kentucky general election will happen on Nov. 7.