Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear speaks during a news conference at the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort, Jan. 19, 2023. (Ryan C. Hermens/Lexington Herald-Leader/Tribune News Service via Getty Pictures)
Ryan C. Hermens | Leader of the Lexington Herald | Getty Images
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, is fighting for a second term Tuesday against his Republican challenger Daniel Cameron, the state’s attorney general, who is trying to rally conservative voters to oppose the views of Beshear on abortion and LGBTQ rights.
Beshear has a 60% approval rating among Kentucky voters, although he governed as a Democrat in a socially conservative state where voters overwhelmingly supported former President Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020, according to a recent Morning Consult poll.
Beshear, 45, led Trump-backed Cameron, 37, for most of the campaign, but the latest poll showed the candidates were dead end.
Cameron, a protégé of U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, is Kentucky’s first African-American attorney general and would become the commonwealth’s first black governor if he defeats Beshear.
Beshear has sought to convince conservative voters that he governs beyond partisan politics. It responded quickly to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and the flooding in eastern Kentucky in 2022.
The governor also touted Kentucky’s economic performance, with the state recording its lowest ever unemployment rate in history last year, although unemployment has increased slightly since then.
Cameron attacked Beshear for his support of abortion and LGBTQ rights, betting that the governor’s positions are out of sync with those of Kentucky voters. Beshear held his ground on these issues, putting Cameron on the defensive on abortion.
Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear, running for re-election, and Republican candidate and Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron shake hands before the Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce Governors’ Luncheon and Forum at Center Paducah-McCracken County Convention, in Paducah, Kentucky. , October 12, 2023.
Ryan C. Hermens | Tribune News Service | Getty Images
Kentucky’s Republican-dominated legislature passed a law banning abortion after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022. The state’s strict ban only allows abortion when the mother’s life is in danger or she is at risk of abortion. disabling injury.
Beshear called the ban ‘extreme’ and ‘absolutely false’ televised debate with Cameron in October, emphasizing that the law does not provide exceptions for rape and incest.
“My opponent’s position would give more rights to the rapist than to his victim,” Beshear said. “We need to change this law.”
Cameron praised the ban when it took effect, and the attorney general defended the law in state courts. As the election approaches, Cameron has softened his stance on changing the law to include exceptions for rape and incest.
“If the Legislature presented me with a bill that had exemptions, I would certainly sign it,” Cameron said during the debate, while trying to portray Beshear as a supporter of abortion rights and positioning himself as a candidate anti-abortion.
Cameron also went after Beshear, the most pro-LGBTQ governor in Kentucky state history, for vetoing bills targeting transgender people.
Last year, Beshear vetoed a law banning transgender girls and women from playing on girls’ and women’s sports teams from sixth grade to college. In March, the governor vetoed another bill banning gender-affirming care for children.
“My faith teaches me that all children are God’s children,” Beshear wrote in his March work veto messagewarning that banning gender-affirming care would put children at risk.
“Improving access to gender-affirming care is an important way to improve health outcomes for the transgender population,” Beshear wrote.
The Republican-dominated Legislature subsequently overrode Beshear’s two vetoes.
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