Gov. Andy Beshear’s Race in Kentucky Will Test Democrats’ Survival Strategies

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Craft will be competing against Cameron, a protégé of McConnell who has already secured Trump’s endorsement; Agricultural Commissioner Ryan Quarles, who has a large network of supporters across the state; and at least eight others so far.

Craft was endorsed immediately by Representative James Comer of Kentucky, the incoming chairman of the House Oversight Committee. Beshear’s campaign blasted her as “an out-of-touch billionaire” who would “likely spend millions and millions of dollars to try to convince Kentuckians she cares about them.” Craft and her husband have given generously to Republican candidates and committees over the years.

Just before the holidays, Kentucky circles were buzzing about the decision by Savannah Maddox, a far-right state lawmaker, to drop out of the race. Some thought it signaled that former Gov. Matt Bevin, whom Beshear defeated in 2019 and occupies a similar “liberty” lane in Kentucky Republican politics, might jump in. The deadline for entering the race is Friday, and speculation about Bevin’s intentions is rampant.

Cameron burst onto the national scene in 2020, drawing gushing reviews from Republicans when he delivered a sharp attack on Democrats and Biden — linking them to what he cast as the excesses of the social justice protests that swept the country after the police killing of a Black man, George Floyd, in Minneapolis.

“The politics of identity, cancellation, and mob rule are not acceptable to me,” Cameron, who is Black, said at the time. “Republicans trust you to think for yourselves and to pursue your American dream however you see fit.”

Some thought Cameron might wait until McConnell’s retirement to run for Senate, but he instead jumped into the governor’s race. He has used his platform as attorney general to draw a sharp contrast with Beshear on abortion rights and the pandemic.

But Trump’s endorsement of Cameron did not scare off Craft, who is already raising more money than anyone else in the field. According to the first report filed to the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance, she raised just over $750,000 during the three months that ended on Sept. 30, while Cameron had brought in a little over $400,000 — putting him behind Quarles, who raised nearly $560,000. (Beshear raised more than $1 million.)

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