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Kentucky GOP Attorney General Daniel Cameron filed paperwork this week to run for governor in 2023, setting up a competition between himself and incumbent Democrat Gov. Andy Beshear.

In a video announcing his candidacy, Cameron portrays Beshear as being out of touch with the politics of most Kentuckians. 

“This governor does not reflect our values,” Cameron said. “He’s never going to change, so we have to change our government.”

Standing beside his wife, Cameron also said: “Makenze and I believe Kentucky needs a governor who uses common sense. One bold enough to defend innocent life. A governor who understands that only faith can keep us strong. Team Kentucky needs a new coach, one who will build us up, not divide us.”

Prior to Cameron’s announcement, the GOP primary field included state Auditor Mike Harmon and Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles. 

In conservative Kentucky, Cameron is expected to be a strong candidate. As attorney general, his handling of the high-profile police shooting death of Breonna Taylor in 2020 put him on the national map – as did his speech at the Republican National Convention that same year. 

Cameron is also politically tied to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a fellow Kentucky Republican whose support could be key in a race for the governorship.

That relationship, however, is one that Democrats have already targeted in their first line of attack.

“Daniel Cameron’s announcement today ramps up what is set to be a crowded and chaotic Republican primary, while also confirming he’s been putting his political ambitions ahead of doing his taxpayer-funded job to keep Kentucky safe. But what else would you expect from Mitch McConnell’s number one crony?,” said Democratic Governors Association spokesman Sam Newton following Cameron’s announcement of his bid.

Beshear, who was once the state’s top prosecutor and whose approval rating hovers just below 60%, has already announced his intent to run for reelection. He will likely tout his economic record, which includes using funds from federal stimulus packages to invest in significant education programs across the state.