The Republican nominee in the Kentucky governor’s race, who was the faithful protege to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), is facing a political crossroads after he won the nomination due to former President Donald Trump’s endorsement.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R-Ky.) started his career as a legal counsel for Mr. McConnell.
During his campaign for attorney general, Mr. Cameron said he couldn’t remember a single time when he disagreed with the senator in private or in public, claiming, “We’re pretty aligned on most things in terms of our conservative views. I don’t have anything I’ve probably disagreed with him on.”
Political analyst Jared Leopold told The Epoch Times: “It’s clear that Daniel Cameron will always put his loyalty to Mitch McConnell first. That’s a difficult spot to be in, given Donald Trump is much more popular [in Kentucky].”
The attorney general ran on President Trump’s early endorsement, but the former president and Mr. McConnell have had a public falling out since then.
President Trump has encouraged the 81-year-old Mr. McConnell to retire, claiming he lost the Senate while early this month, a chorus of hecklers targetted him while he spoke at Fancy Farm, a major political event in Kentucky. Hecklers at the event booed Mr. McConnell and shouted, “Retire, retire!”
President Trump posted a similar jab at the minority leader on Truth Social saying “I AGREE! BOOOO—RETIRE, RETIRE, RETIRE—BOOOOO!!!”
Mr. Leopold, who has worked on governor’s races across the country, said: “It’s no secret that Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump despise each other. But as McConnell’s protege and with McConnell’s top aide running his campaign, Daniel Cameron immediately defended him from Donald Trump’s attacks.”
Earlier this year, Mr. McConnell’s long-time chief of staff took a leave of absence to run Mr. Cameron’s campaign.
Mr. Leopold says this will likely raise questions in Mr. Cameron’s campaign as to whether President Trump still backs him in his bid to become governor of Kentucky.
On Wednesday, President Trump went after Mr. McConnell again during an interview with Tucker Carlson, calling him a “bad guy.”
“The Senate was very good for me, other than, you know, Mitch McConnell … Too bad I endorsed him … he really wanted to impeach me,” the former president said. “He’s a bad guy.”
The conflict of allegiances for Mr. Cameron has become even more prominent after he decided to bow out of a political event in September that is due to be headlined by the former president.
“As it turns out, we’re going to be doing other campaign events that day in another region of the state. We plan to campaign in northern Kentucky often between now and November 7,” the campaign said in a statement to the Associated Press.
The rift between President Trump and Mr. McConnell intensified when the minority leader made critical remarks about the former president after the breach of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, when he stated: “There is no question that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of that day,” and that “a mob was assaulting the Capitol in his name. These criminals were carrying his banners, hanging his flags, and screaming their loyalty to him.”
Mr. Cameron is running against popular incumbent Democratic Governor Andy Beshear, with the election being held on Nov. 7. Sources told The Epoch Times there is concern that the attorney general may be unable to beat Mr. Beshear without President Trump campaigning on Mr. Cameron’s behalf.
The former president won Kentucky in the 2020 general election with over 60 percent of the vote.
The Epoch Times reached out to Mr. Cameron’s campaign for comment on this story but did not receive a response by the time of publication.