Owen County voters helped carry gubernatorial candidates Andy Beshear (D) and Daniel Cameron (R) to victory Tuesday in their party’s primaries.
Both candidates were declared winners in the statewide race shortly after the polls closed.
Beshear, the incumbent, collected 385 votes in his Democratic primary, easily outpacing second-place finisher Geoff Young (78) and Peppy Martin (31).
Cameron, the state’s attorney general, edged out Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, 408-368 to win the Republican primary. Eric Deters was third with 112 votes, followed by Kelly Craft with 108 and Mike Harmon with 29.
Incumbent Secretary of State Michael Adams won a primary challenge over Stephen Kipper, 533-367 among Owen County voters and easily won statewide.
Incumbent Auditor Allison Ball defeated Derek Petteys 613-319 among Owen County voters and won statewide, as well.
Already Kentucky’s first black attorney general, Cameron is the state’s first major party black nominee for governor.
The fall matchup between Beshear and Cameron conjures parallels from the state’s last governor’s race but with a reversal of roles for the governor. In 2019, Beshear used the attorney general’s office as a springboard to the governorship.
During his single term as attorney general, Beshear challenged a series of executive actions by then-governor, Republican Matt Bevin. Beshear narrowly defeated Bevin in a race that revolved around Bevin’s combative personality.
Turnout was light in many locations as rain fell across much of the state during part of the day, the secretary of state’s office said. Storm warnings were issued in some areas but there were no reports of voting disruptions Election officials hoped for an upswing in turnout after the storms passed.
Cameron succeeded Beshear in the attorney general’s office, and the Republican turned the tables on Beshear, mounting numerous legal challenges against state and national Democratic policies that endeared him to conservatives. Cameron led the successful challenge that essentially halted the governor’s COVID-era restrictions, which Cameron said amounted to executive overreach. Beshear says that his actions saved lives and that he leaned heavily on guidance from Trump’s coronavirus task force.
A former aide to Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, Cameron has risen through the political ranks to become one of the most prominent Black Republicans in the country. His victory Tuesday will play into former President Donald Trump’s efforts to solidify his status as the leader of the Republican Party heading into the 2024 presidential primary.
If Beshear follows his campaign formula from 2019, he will avoid talking about Trump or dwelling on polarizing national issues that could risk further energizing his opponent’s conservative base.
He is also expected to draw on his family’s strong political brand — his father, Steve Beshear, is a former two-term Kentucky governor — and lean into his role of leading through adversity after a multitude of crises during his first term.
Cameron’s immediate attention will turn toward building party unity for the fall campaign slog, a task for which he has demonstrated skills in the past. He bridged the gulf between Trump and McConnell despite a growing rift between the two GOP heavyweights. Cameron worked as the senator’s legal counsel and made a high-profile pitch for Trump’s unsuccessful reelection campaign at the 2020 Republican National Convention.
—includes reporting by The Associated Press
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