It’s experience vs. a fresh face in Kentucky AG race

Published 6:12 am Saturday, November 2, 2019

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Candidates for Kentucky attorney general have not been shy about lobbing personal attacks in a contest that is proving to be as heated as the headlining governor’s race.

Republican Daniel Cameron, a political newcomer, has called opponent Greg Stumbo corrupt and weak on immigration. Stumbo, a former Kentucky House speaker and attorney general, has compared the 33-year-old Cameron’s experience to a “third grader trying to solve a complicated math problem” and said Cameron has never even prosecuted a traffic ticket.

Cameron, a native of Hardin County, hopes to make history with his bid for AG. A win on Nov. 5 would make him the first African American to hold the office and the first Republican attorney general in 70 years. The GOP came close to taking the office in 2015, when nominee Whitney Westerfield lost to Andy Beshear by about 2,000 votes.

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Stumbo, 68, who lives in Prestonsburg, held the office from 2004 to 2008 and says he wants to “finish what I started” by fighting the spread of opioids and curbing addiction around the state. Stumbo said while attorney general he sued a drug manufacturer and wants to continue the cases against opioid manufacturers brought by Beshear.

“They’re very good cases, and I want to be able to finish those cases, I think it’s important for Kentucky,” Stumbo said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime golden opportunity to get some real money that we can put into treatment, education, prevention and care for our addiction problems.”

Stumbo said he also wants to reconstitute the Kentucky Bureau of Investigation to fight public corruption and investigate cold cases.

Cameron, who played football at the University of Louisville, served as a legal counsel for U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, and assisted McConnell in Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation process. He has also been an attorney in private practice at a Louisville law firm.

President Trump has tweeted support for Cameron, saying he is “tough on crime, strong on borders” and a defender of gun rights.

Cameron has proposed opening satellite attorney general offices outside of Frankfort and partnering with federal agencies to fight drug trafficking in the state. He supports Trump’s proposal to build a southern U.S. border wall.

“The drugs that are coming into this country start with the Mexican drug cartels,” Cameron said. “Right now, the border is porous and people are just able to walk through it.”

He said any kind of barrier would serve as a deterrent to border crossings.

Cameron’s experience as an attorney was challenged in a lawsuit filed by a Louisville resident who questioned Cameron’s resume. Stumbo said he had nothing to do with the suit but said it shows the authors of the state constitution “wanted people in offices of the judiciary who understood the court system.”

A judge in Louisville sided with Cameron, saying his years as a federal law clerk counted toward the constitution’s eight-year requirement of being a practicing attorney. Cameron’s campaign produced a TV ad shortly after, accusing Stumbo of being behind the lawsuit and showing a scoreboard with Cameron 1, Stumbo zero.

“None of those positions that I’ve had in my professional career are easy to come by and are highly sought after so I’m proud of the opportunities I’ve had and the work that I’ve done in those places,” Cameron said.

The job as Kentucky’s top prosecutor was left open by Beshear, a Democrat, who skipped a bid for a second term to run for governor against Republican incumbent Matt Bevin.