Daniel Cameron rips ‘racist’ ads, promotes Donald Trump’s endorsement ahead of KY election

Daniel Cameron is at the center of two PAC-sponsored ads — one that the candidate calls “racist” — with Kentucky’s gubernatorial election less than a week away.

In an ad the Republican candidate has promoted from the Bluegrass Freedom Action PAC, former President Donald Trump reinforces his endorsement of Cameron in the election, encouraging voters to head to the polls Tuesday to support a candidate who’s “strong, reliable and loves your state and our nation.”

At the same time, Cameron’s campaign has blasted a pair of ads that brand the candidate as “Uncle Daniel Cameron” and compare him to an antagonist in the movie “Django Unchained.”

Attorney General Daniel Cameron speaks to supporters during a campaign stop in Jeffersontown on Friday, October 20, 2023

Those ads, a radio spot that reportedly ran on a Louisville R&B station and a digital advertisement, were released by the Black Voters Matters PAC, which is unaffiliated with any political campaign but works to “increase power in marginalized, predominantly Black communities.”

The radio ad, which came to light Friday through conservative news outlet the Daily Wire, told listeners “all skinfolk ain’t kinfolk,” a phrase used to reference someone working against members of their own race, and said Cameron is “the same man who refused to seek justice for Breonna Taylor.” It also referred to Cameron as “Uncle Daniel Cameron,” referencing “Uncle Tom,” a Black person who will go to excessive lengths to win approval from white people.

Taylor, a Black woman from Louisville, was shot and killed by Louisville Metro Police officers serving a no-knock warrant at her apartment in 2020. His handling of the case as attorney general was criticized when none of the three officers who fired at Taylor were charged in her death as a result of his office’s investigation.

A second digital ad, reported and confirmed as legitimate Tuesday by USA TODAY, pictures Cameron next to Stephen, a Black enslaved character in the 2012 movie “Django Unchained” who is loyal to a white plantation owner. “All skinfolk ain’t kinfolk,” the ad repeats, urging readers to vote for Beshear on Election Day.

The ads were not produced by Beshear’s campaign. His team did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday, though over the weekend he told the Lexington Herald-Leader the radio spot came from “an African American-led PAC, so we’ll let them comment for themselves.”

On Friday, Cameron said he does not believe in judging others based on the color of their skin but said that position is not shared by Democrats and supporters, who “think you can’t be Black and conservative.”

“I never faced racism or discrimination while growing up or working in Kentucky until I decided to stand up to the national Democrat establishment,” he said, calling on Beshear to condemn the radio ad. “I don’t support their policies, so the Left attacks me for my skin color. These racist attacks have been happening for years and the media has either enabled or ignored them.”

Cameron did not comment further Tuesday after the second ad was reported, but campaign spokesperson Sean Southard criticized Beshear for not publicly condemning it, saying the governor “says this election is about vision versus division, but Andy and his allies are the true dividers in Kentucky.”

Governor Andy Beshear was part of a gubernatorial candidate forum at the 77th Annual Meeting Dinner.
Sept. 20, 2023

While those ads have drawn the ire of the Cameron campaign, the video of Trump again endorsing Cameron affirms the former president’s support for the candidate — and comes as some speculation had swirled about whether he’d get involved with the Kentucky election.

Trump, who endorsed Cameron in June 2022 ahead of the GOP primary, doesn’t break new ground in the two-minute video. He runs through the usual talking points, branding Beshear as a governor who has “been a disaster for Kentucky” while promoting Cameron as a governor who would fight crime, stop inflation, lower taxes and “save our Second Amendment.”

Cameron promoted the video on social media after it was released Tuesday afternoon, saying he was “proud to be endorsed by President Trump” and pledging to defeat Beshear in this year’s election and support efforts to beat current President Joe Biden in 2024.

During the campaign, Beshear has mostly avoided referencing Biden, a fellow Democrat, but has also tried to avoid directly criticizing Trump as he courts votes in a state that voted overwhelmingly in favor of the former president in 2016 and 2020. His campaign did not respond to a request for comment about the Tuesday video.

Beshear’s campaign released a commercial in September featuring a Trump supporter who plans to vote for the governor in November, citing his bipartisan record and “putting Kentucky first.” Cameron was critical of the ad in an October debate with Beshear and has repeatedly instead tied him to Biden.

Trump, now facing four criminal indictments over separate controversies, has not said whether he plans to visit Kentucky to campaign in person for Cameron, as he did for former Gov. Matt Bevin on the eve of the 2019 election.

Reach Lucas Aulbach at laulbach@courier-journal.com.

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