Kentucky Republicans on Tuesday chose lawyer/lobbyist Daniel Cameron over state Sen. Wil Schroder to face Democrat Greg Stumbo in the Nov. 5 election for state attorney general.
Cameron, 33, was legal counsel for Kentucky’s Republican godfather, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, from 2015 to 2017. Then he left Washington to become a corporate lawyer and lobbyist back home in Louisville at the firm of Frost Brown Todd.
As Kentucky’s chief law enforcement officer, the attorney general is paid $126,484 a year to oversee a $36 million office with many different duties, including representing the commonwealth in court, supporting locally elected prosecutors and undertaking certain kinds of criminal investigations.
The only Democrat in the race is Stumbo, a former Kentucky House speaker who served as attorney general from 2003 to 2007. In his previous time on the job, Stumbo upended the Republican administration of then-Gov. Ernie Fletcher with a grand jury investigation of state hiring that led to indictments for Fletcher and many top aides. The scandal contributed to Fletcher’s 2007 re-election defeat.
Republicans have no desire for the puckish Stumbo, 67, to return to power as they tighten their grip on Kentucky’s state government.
In contrast to the legal battles that Republican Gov. Matt Bevin and the GOP-led legislature often fight with the departing attorney general, Democrat Andy Beshear, Cameron has promised to run the office more cooperatively with the rest of politically conservative Frankfort. The attorney general should be a team player, not an adversary, Cameron said.
“I would be proud to work with the General Assembly and the governor to uphold and enforce the laws that are passed by the General Assembly,” Cameron said in an appearance on KET.
Cameron and Schroder both said during the campaign that they oppose abortion and support gun ownership, pledged to uphold Republican President Donald Trump’s agenda at the state level and otherwise shared conservative views. Still, the Republican primary battle was surprisingly nasty for a down-ticket race.
Cameron repeatedly ripped Schroder for having been a registered Democrat more than a decade ago before changing parties and running for office. And he outspent Schroder more than $2-to-$1 by tapping McConnell’s mighty fund-raising machine in Washington and Kentucky. Additionally, an outside group allied with McConnell spent $350,000 to promote Cameron with television ads.
Deftly adopting McConnell’s famously bare-knuckle campaign tactics, Cameron aired commercials and sent mailers declaring that Schroder was an “undercover Democrat” who dishonestly posed as a Republican while secretly backing liberal causes, although he couldn’t name any liberal votes Schroder ever cast in Frankfort. One digitally altered mailer showed a tiny Schroder holding up an enormous golden trophy awarded to him by grateful Democrats for all the favors that he supposedly did for them.
“Wil Schroder was an Obama activist in 2008,” Cameron posted on Twitter last Friday. “Republicans primary voters deserve better. I have believed in the principles this party has stood for my entire life, not just when it was convenient for political gain.”
- Daniel Cameron 132,580
- Wil Schroder 106,950