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The new stars brewing in the race you aren't watching
A young Black Republican and a savvy moderate Democrat face off two months from today.
There’s another story brewing in Kentucky with national implications beyond Mitch McConnell’s maladies — but not unaffected by them. Kentucky’s off-year governor’s race is two months from today and it features a pair of candidates who could play outsize roles in their respective party’s futures — if either party can get over its addiction to geriatrics.
Daniel Cameron looks like a slam-dunk to morph into a national star overnight. Young. Black. Charismatic. And Republican. All he has to do is defeat Andy Beshear, an incumbent governor who has mastered the declining politics of moderation while surfing the goodwill around his daddy’s last name. If Beshear can repeat in a +26-point Trump state, does he not deserve a seat on the national stage? That’s more debatable, as I outline in the second piece (links below).
From my Cameron piece:
Cameron was supposed to be a United States senator. It turns out that was mostly a media narrative, fueled by gossip around the timeline of McConnell’s eventual departure and the genuine excitement Cameron has generated as an avatar for Kentucky Republicans. In choosing to pursue this campaign for governor, Cameron has selected a more arduous political pathway, given Gov. Andy Beshear’s popularity and how rare it is to defeat an incumbent governor anywhere. (Just one incumbent governor in the country fell in 2022, none lost in 2020.) But at 37, Cameron is a man in a hurry – something that was apparent to those who worked with him early on. “All of us understood when we hired Daniel that he would be in public life somehow, someway, someday,” said Tom Lee, a Nashville attorney who hired Cameron as a litigator out of the U.S. Senate. “He’s a very confident guy and that’s apparent by his political path so far.” If Cameron defeats Beshear this November, he would become the first African-American Republican governor elected since Reconstruction, the nation’s youngest governor and an immediate national icon in a party starved for youth and diversity.
Keep reading on Cameron HERE.
And from my Beshear joint:
As a white male and low-key moderate Democrat from a state otherwise dominated by Republicans, Andy Beshear isn’t expected to rocket to the top of many 2028 White House wish lists. But if he’s successful in defeating Republican challenger Daniel Cameron on Nov. 7, he’s logically positioned to become a national archetype for Democratic success in outstate America. And the dwindling middle-of-the-road influencers still inside the party hope a Beshear victory would earn him admission into the national conversation, if not on a future national ticket. “Democrats are going to have to dig deep and not be beholden to the far left. To get elected and serve well, you really do have to be moderate, middle-of-the-road,” said Bev Perdue, the former Democratic governor of North Carolina, who went to college at the University of Kentucky. “I do think he can be vice president,” she said of Beshear.
Keep reading on Beshear HERE.