With a margin larger than expected, Daniel Cameron swept aside the Republican field and will face Governor Beshear in this fall’s election.
Cameron was the front-runner from the beginning, but the final margin — and the fall of Kelly Craft — was the story of the night.
The unofficial results from Tuesday’s primary were Cameron 48%, Quarles 22%, and Craft 17%. Craft outspent her opponents by a large amount, loaning her campaign almost $10 million, but by the time the votes were counted she had dropped from a close second to a very distant third.
As nasty as the campaign had been between Cameron and Craft, by the end of the evening all the gubernatorial candidates had united behind Cameron. In their concession speeches, both Quarles and Craft congratulated him on his win, and pledged their support. Eric Deters, the fourth-place finisher, told reporters he had already called Cameron to congratulate him.
Cameron now hopes to make the same jump that Beshear made four years ago: from attorney general to governor. Unlike 2019, however, Cameron is not facing a governor (Matt Bevin) who was disliked within his own party. Instead, he is running against the 5th-most-popular governor in the country, with high approval ratings from members of both major parties.
In his victory speech, Cameron gave a preview of his campaign themes against Beshear: Beshear’s actions during the pandemic, his veto of the anti-trans bill, and generally trying to tie Beshear to national Democrats.
Beshear easily won the Democratic nomination, and has a sizable war chest for the campaign. It remains to be seen if he can turn his fund-raising and approval ratings into another blue victory in a red state.