Another big name in the Kentucky Republican Party has filed to run for governor next year.
On Wednesday, Attorney General Daniel Cameron filed paperwork with the state Registry of Election Finance to start his campaign.
Cameron becomes the third GOP state officeholder to become a candidate in a gubernatorial primary that is a little more than a year away.
Auditor Mike Harmon announced his campaign last year, while Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles announced nearly two weeks ago.
Those three individuals are likely to be joined by several others in what many believe will be a highly competitive race.
Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear is also running for re-election.
Cameron’s campaign did not immediately return an email seeking comment.
Harmon issued a statement welcoming Cameron to the race. The state auditor said GOP candidates are considering a run because of Beshear’s actions during the COVID-19 pandemic and his vetoes of several bills in the 2022 General Assembly session that were popular with socially conservative voters. The GOP-majority legislature voted to override vetoes on bills regarding abortion and transgender athletes.
“Daniel has an important voice in the Republican Party, and I look forward to seeing him on the campaign trail and discussing our ideas for how best to get Kentucky back on track,” Harmon said.
Cameron is serving his first term as the state’s attorney general, which he won in 2019. Before becoming the first Black candidate to win statewide office and the first Republican to win the attorney general’s spot in more than 70 years, he served as legal counsel to U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
In that race, Cameron beat Democrat Greg Stumbo, a former state house speaker and a one-time attorney general, garnering 57.8% of the 1.4 million votes cast. Cameron would be eligible to run for a second consecutive term as attorney general under the state Constitution.
However, with him now running for governor, that would open the door for other Republicans to run for the position.
One of those possibilities is Secretary of State Michael Adams, who used his personal Twitter account to congratulate Cameron.
“GOP voters are blessed with great choices,” Adams posted early Wednesday afternoon. “I will now consider running for Attorney General and also consider pursuing re-election.”
A 36-year-old Elizabethtown native, Cameron attended the University of Louisville, where he played football and graduated with a bachelor’s degree and a law degree.
The primary for Kentucky statewide offices is scheduled for May 16, 2023. The filing deadline is Jan. 6, and no one can run for more than one office under Kentucky’s election laws.
While Kentucky has trended heavily Republican in recent years, the winner of the GOP gubernatorial primary may face a challenge in unseating Beshear, who received a 59% job approval rating in a recent Morning Consult poll.
This year’s primary, which includes local, state legislative, judicial and congressional races plus a U.S. Senate seat, will take place on May 17.