Cameron, who became the state’s first black attorney general, announced his bid for Kentucky governor last year, looking to oust current Democratic Governor Andy Beshear. He defeated Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles and former U.N. Ambassador Kelly Craft for the Republican nomination.
The Associated Press called the race Tuesday evening after Cameron secured 45.4% to Craft’s 17.6%, and was officially named the first major-party black gubernatorial nominee in the state’s history.
“I think often about my ancestors who struggled for freedom,” Cameron said at the RNC. “I also think about Joe Biden who says, ‘If you aren’t voting for me, you ain’t black,’ who argued that Republicans would put us back in chains, who said there is no diversity of thought in the black community.”
“Mr. Vice President, look at me. I am black; we are not all the same, sir. I am not in chains. My mind is my own,” he added.
Cameron became known as the frontrunner after receiving an endorsement from former and current presidential candidate Donald Trump, who won the state by double digits during the 2020 election.
Trump joined Cameron on Sunday for a tele-rally supporting the GOP nominee for governor, according to CNN.
“I’ve been with him all the way, and now he’s doing this, and I have no doubt he’s going to be a fantastic governor,” the former president said.
Cameron also received support from Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the chamber’s Republican leader, after serving as legal counsel for the lawmaker.
Cameron acknowledged the riff between Trump and McConnell earlier this year to The Associated Press, saying that his candidacy for Kentucky governor represents different factions within the GOP.
“They’ve got their differences,” Cameron told reporters at the Kentucky Capitol. “I think what our candidacy means is that we’re able to transcend a lot of different factions within the Republican Party and bring people together. And I think that is what ultimately this candidacy represents.”
Last year, Cameron blasted so-called “stakeholder capitalism” in a opinion letter advising the Bluegrass State not to follow the globalist investment trend with taxpayer funds after the World Economic Forum gathered in Davos to continue its push for “ESG,” or Environmental, Social, Governance investing, a trend that scores companies by their commitment to progressive causes.
Cameron wrote that investing public funds with managers who subscribe to the practice violates Kentucky law, arguing that management of the state’s pension fund must seek to maximize profits for taxpayers, not advance a political agenda.
Scott Jennings, a prominent Republican consultant in the state who was neutral in the primary, told POLITICO he believes Cameron’s chances of becoming governor bank on the fact he advocated for people who feel like they were disenfranchised, or not listened to, or trampled upon during COVID.
“I mean small business owners, churches, parents,” Jennings said. “There’s a lot of people out there that are still pretty sore about that.”
Cameron said at a campaign stop in Shepherdsville last month, reported by The New York Times, that he took action when Governor Beshear “shut down churches.”
“I went into federal court and, after nine days, got churches reopened in Kentucky,” Cameron said.
Cameron now heads to the gubernatorial election in November to face Governor Beshear, who currently holds a 63% approval rating in the state.