In an unorthodox move, former President Donald Trump endorsed Daniel Cameron in the Republican primary for governor nearly one year before the May 2023 election. A source close to Trump tells Kentucky Fried Politics that Cameron’s campaign was able to secure the endorsement via Trump’s son Don Jr.
There is also an open question amongst multiple sources that suggests Trump might not know the primary election takes place next year.
On Thursday evening, Trump released the endorsement following a questionable poll showing Cameron leading a still forming pack of candidates for the GOP primary.
“A young star is born before our very eyes, his name is Daniel Cameron, the Attorney General of the Great Commonwealth of Kentucky, and he has just announced he is running for Governor,” Trump said in his endorsement.
“I have known Daniel right from the beginning of his meteoric rise, and he is absolutely outstanding in every way,” Trump continued. “He is Strong on the Military and our Vets, a Fierce Defender of our Borders, Protects our totally under-siege Second Amendment, and is a Crime Fighter who represents the absolute opposite of ‘Defund the Police.”
“At every level, Daniel has stood out, he will be a Great Governor of Kentucky, and has my Complete and Total Endorsement!”
The endorsement comes to Cameron as there are persistent rumors that his campaign has been struggling to raise money. Cameron entered the race in May during the middle of a fundraising quarter, and as multiple other campaigns for governor are in full swing.
“I am honored and humbled to receive the endorsement of President Trump in our campaign for Governor of the great Commonwealth of Kentucky,” Cameron said. “As your next Governor, I pledge to put Kentuckians FIRST. With President Trump’s support, we are more ready than ever to take on the Beshear-Biden agenda that is failing our families and doesn’t reflect the values of our 120 counties. Makenze and I invite you to join us in this campaign to restore bold, conservative leadership to Frankfort.”
The move by Trump to endorse is also fracturing the Trump wing of the GOP field with Northern Kentucky “liberty” candidate Eric Deters, a suspended lawyer, dropping out as a Republican and promising to run as an Independent in the race.
“Donald Trump just endorsed Mitch McConnell’s man Daniel Cameron for Governor of Kentucky in the Republican primary. As everyone knows I am a very independent man and a fighter,” Deters wrote online. “Based on Trump’s endorsement which I believe is just another slap to his supporters, I am announcing that I will be running for Governor as an Independent candidate as a registered Republican.”
Deters continued saying he is in the race all the way to November of 2023, and that he is self-financing his campaign.
Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, Auditor Mike Harmon, and Rep. Savannah Maddox are also running for governor in the GOP primary. Former UN Ambassador Kelly Craft is still considering the race, as is Somerset Mayor Alan Keck.