Former President Donald Trump is attributing the loss of his preferred candidate in the Kentucky gubernatorial election, Daniel Cameron, to a problematic association with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
“Daniel Cameron lost because he couldn’t alleviate the stench of Mitch McConnell. I told him early that’s a big burden to overcome,” President Trump wrote in a Wednesday morning post on Truth Social. “McConnell and [Mitt] Romney are Kryptonite for Republican candidates. I moved him up 25 points, but the McConnell relationship was ‘too much to bear.'”
Mr. Cameron currently serves as the attorney general of Kentucky and had served as Mr. McConnell’s legal counsel prior to that.
President Trump had endorsed Mr. Cameron in the 2019 Kentucky attorney general election, and Mr. Cameron won that race with about 58 percent of the vote against about 42 percent of the vote for Democrat, Greg Stumbo. President Trump again endorsed Mr. Cameron for governor in June of last year, 11 months out from the May 2023 Republican primary and more than a year out from the general election.
Incumbent Democrat Gov. Andy Beshear had led Mr. Cameron in multiple pre-election polls, but the gap appeared to narrow somewhat as election day neared. An early October poll conducted by Emerson College placed Mr. Beshear ahead by 16 points, while that same polling firm showed Mr. Camera up by one point in its final pre-election survey. Despite this late polling shift, Mr. Beshear won on Nov. 7 with about 53 percent of the vote, against 47 percent of the vote for Mr. Cameron.
In his victory speech on Tuesday night, Mr. Beshear also characterized his reelection as a defeat of Mr. McConnell and McConnell-aligned political action committees (PACs).
“Just look at what we were up against. Five Super PACs. My opponent’s super PAC. Mitch McConnell’s super PAC, [Sen.] Rand Paul’s super PAC, the Club for Growth, the Republican Governors Association, all running ads full of hate and division,” Mr. Beshear said on Tuesday night. “And you know what? We beat them all at the same time.”
Mr. McConnell and President Trump have repeatedly feuded over the years, and President Trump’s Wednesday social media post is not the first time he’s blamed his fellow Republican for the party’s election losses. Following last year’s midterms, in which Republicans failed to flip Senate seats in battleground states such as Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and Pennsylvania, President Trump accused Sen. McConnell of “spending money to defeat great Republican candidates instead of backing [2022 Republican Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters] and others.”
Chris Christie Mocks Trump
While President Trump laid the blame for Mr. Cameron’s loss at Mr. McConnell’s feet, former Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie suggested it is actually President Trump who deserves the blame.
“Trump endorsed candidate Daniel Cameron loses the Governor’s race in DEEP RED Kentucky. Another loss for Trump,” Mr. Christie said in a post on the X social media platform on Tuesday night as the gubernatorial race was called for Mr. Beshear.
Mr. Christie, who is challenging President Trump for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, continued his X post, writing, “The losing will only end for Republicans if we rid ourselves of Donald Trump. Trump—loser in ’18, ’20, ’21, ’22 and now ’23.”
Kentucky is a “deep red” state in the sense that Republicans have held both of the state’s U.S. Senate seats since 1999 and the Republican candidate has won in the state in nine of the past 11 presidential elections. On the other hand, Republicans have only won two contests for the Kentucky governorship in the past 50 years.
Mr. Beshear was first elected as governor in 2019, defeating then-Republican Gov. Matt Bevin by less than half of a percentage point.