By BRUCE SCHREINER – Associated Press
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron won former President Donald Trump’s endorsement Thursday night in his 2023 gubernatorial bid, offering a boost given the the former president’s enduring popularity among Republican voters in the state.
In a press release that Cameron tweeted on his own account, Trump said he had known Cameron from the start of the Kentuckian’s “meteoric rise”, describing the attorney general’s first term as “absolutely outstanding in every way.”
“Daniel has stood out on every level, he will be a great governor of Kentucky and has my full and complete endorsement,” Trump said.
Cameron tweeted his thanks to the former president shortly after the endorsement.
Trump’s endorsement, made about 11 months before the GOP gubernatorial primary, comes as a member of his administration — former United Nations ambassador Kelly Craft — has been touted as a potential GOP nominee for president. Governor of Kentucky. Craft has not declared herself a candidate yet.
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Cameron is among several Republicans already vying for the GOP nomination to challenge Democratic Governor Andy Beshear next year.
Beshear remained popular during a tenure overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the response to December’s tornadoes that killed 81 people in Kentucky and left massive damage in several cities. He has clashed with the Republican-controlled legislature, but his record includes some of the greatest economic development successes in state history.
In 2019, Beshear — then the state’s attorney general — narrowly beat Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, who also had Trump’s backing.
In his endorsement, Trump described Cameron as a “crime fighter who represents the absolute opposite of ‘Defund the Police’.”
Cameron, who is black, has faced national scrutiny for his handling of the investigation into the shooting death of Breonna Taylor, a botched late-night drug raid on her apartment in Louisville, Ky. , in which no drugs were found. His death and the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis have sparked nationwide protests for racial justice.
At a 2020 press conference to announce a grand jury’s findings, Cameron said jurors ‘agreed’ the homicide charges were not warranted against the officers because they were shot. . This prompted three of the jurors to come forward and challenge Cameron’s account, arguing that Cameron’s staff members were limiting their scope and not giving them the opportunity to consider homicide charges against police in the death of Taylor.
Last year, in an interview with The Associated Press, Cameron said those jurors could speak for themselves, but he said the grand jury had “finally” decided the charges in the case. No officer has ever been charged for their role in his death.
Cameron, who landed a prime-time speaking slot at the 2020 Republican National Convention, has close ties to Kentucky’s most powerful Republican, GOP leader in the U.S. Senate, Mitch McConnell, and has previously been legal adviser to the senator.
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