KENTUCKY (AP) — Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron signaled Sunday that he's keeping his options open for Kentucky's 2023 election, tantalizingly adding more suspense to the evolving GOP competition to pick a challenger to Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear.
In an interview that aired on WKYT-TV's Kentucky Newsmakers program, Cameron didn't rule out a run for governor next year, saying he's looking at “everything that's on the table.”
The revelation, coming at the end of an extended interview, has the potential to further scramble the field of announced and potential candidates jockeying for support from GOP voters and donors.
Cameron, a former legal counsel to U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, was elected as Kentucky’s first Black attorney general in 2019. Pegged as a rising GOP star, Cameron landed a speaking slot at the 2020 Republican National Convention. He would be seen as a top-tier candidate if he entered what could become a crowded 2023 primary for governor.
During the TV interview, the program's host, Bill Bryant, asked Cameron if he plans to seek a second term as attorney general next year. Cameron replied that he intends to be on the ballot, adding he’s having conversations with his wife about “what that looks like for us.” Cameron noted that he and his wife have a baby at home.
Noting Cameron didn’t mention the AG’s race, Bryant asked if he’s considering the governor’s race.
“Well we’re looking at everything that’s on the table," Cameron responded. "Obviously being in this office has been a great honor and (I) have been grateful for the opportunity to serve Kentuckians in the AG’s office. But we’re looking and seeing what ultimately can happen.”
While much of his term has been overshadowed by the pandemic and battles with the GOP-led legislature, Beshear points to strong economic development gains — headlined by Ford’s selection of Kentucky to build twin plants to produce batteries for its next generation of electric vehicles.
Beshear remains popular but he's likely to draw plenty of potential Republican opponents. GOP State Auditor Mike Harmon entered the race last year. Other prominent Republicans pondering bids include former United Nations Ambassador Kelly Craft, state Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, state Sen. Max Wise and state Rep. Savannah Maddox.
If Cameron entered the governor’s race, it would create a wide open GOP contest for attorney general in Republican-trending Kentucky.
Cameron has burnished his conservative credentials as attorney general, successfully challenging Beshear’s COVID-19-related restrictions and winning a U.S. Supreme Court ruling to continue defending a state law intended to restrict abortion.
Cameron also drew criticism for his handling of an investigation into the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor by police in 2020. Her death and the killing of George Floyd sparked nationwide racial justice protests. Cameron publicly said the decision not to charge any police officers with Taylor's death was “ultimately” in the grand jury’s hands. But three jurors on the panel later said Cameron’s team limited their scope and misled them about what charges they were allowed to consider.