Republican candidates from Kentucky struggle in describing Election 2020 – National

Kentucky Republicans came to the state’s most important political event this weekend in a bid to win the November election and beyond, but some candidates running for governor have had a hard time coming to terms with Donald Trump’s defeat in 2020 .

They gave parsed or tortured answers when asked if Democrat Joe Biden’s victory over Trump for the presidency was fairly decided. Her toes were a sign Trump continued to hold many in the GOP, including Kentucky, which he easily wore twice.

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That influence was evident Saturday when Trump supporters held up large “Trump Won” signs as people gathered for political speeches at the Fancy Farm picnic in western Kentucky. The signs promoting Trump’s false claims of a rigged 2020 election were met with cheers from Republican believers. Speaking stump-style at the picnic—shown on statewide television—is a rite of passage for statewide candidates in Kentucky.

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Trump has already weighed the bluegrass state’s race for governor in 2023 and backed GOP Attorney General Daniel Cameron. Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear, who is seeking a second term, skipped the picnic and spent Saturday comforting flood victims in eastern Kentucky.

Cameron referenced Trump endorsement during his picnic speech. But he balked at questions over the weekend about the ex-president’s unsupported claims of widespread voter fraud in 2020.

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“The election was fair and safe here in Kentucky,” Cameron said in response to one of reporters’ questions. “Look, we have to focus on the future. And that’s what this campaign is about.”

However, Cameron distanced himself from the views of some die-hard Trump supporters who believe the results of the 2020 presidential election should be overturned.

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“President Biden is the President of the United States. I’m not denying that,” said Cameron, who as attorney general has joined several lawsuits challenging the Biden administration’s policies.

Federal and state election officials and Trump’s own attorney general said there was no credible evidence the election was rigged. The former president’s cheating allegations have also been firmly dismissed by courts, including Trump-appointed judges.

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Cameron, who worked for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and counts him as a mentor, also refused to discuss the Jan. 6 riot in the US Capitol. The House panel investigating the attack has blamed Trump, saying the attack was not spontaneous but an “attempted coup” and a direct result of the defeated president’s efforts to overthrow the election.

Instead of speaking about the Capitol siege, Cameron referenced demonstrations in 2020 sparked by the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other black Americans in encounters with police. He said he is not being asked about protests that have seen property vandalized in some cities across the country.

Cameron, who is black, even made a joke about Trump endorsement in his picnic speech — in true fancy farm form, where zingers and parodies are not only common but expected.

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“Now people have speculated about how I got this endorsement. So today I’m gonna spill the beans. It was actually pretty easy. … All I had to do was assure Trump that Mitch McConnell is not Makenze’s grandfather,” Cameron joked, referring to his wife.

From the Fancy Farm stage, Cameron was the only gubernatorial candidate to mention Trump, whose endorsement had been coveted by other GOP gubernatorial candidates.

In her picnic speech, Rep. Savannah Maddox, another gubernatorial candidate, mentioned Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as an “authentic Republican” who “will fight for your constitutional rights and freedoms.”

Cameron wasn’t the only GOP candidate who struggled to answer Trump-related questions.

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When asked if he thinks Biden won fairly, Ryan Quarles responded that Kentucky had a “safe choice” and that Trump “won tremendously” at the bluegrass state. Quarles, the state commissioner of agriculture, is also among the gubernatorial candidates seeking the GOP nomination, which is due to be decided next spring.

“I think President Trump would do a much better job than President Biden if he were in office today,” Quarles added.

Another gubernatorial candidate, state examiner Mike Harmon, gave a more than 140-word answer when first asked if Biden won fairly. Harmon later said some key election-related “controls had been lifted,” but said he “couldn’t make an assessment one way or the other.”

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Harmon said he wished there wasn’t an attack on the Capitol, but also pointed to the damage and destruction of property during police protests and said it doesn’t get enough attention.

“Certainly President Biden serves as our president,” Harmon later said. “We must pray for him as we would pray for any of our presidents. And hopefully it gives direction. There are of course some things we wish he would do differently.”

© 2022 The Canadian Press Republican candidates from Kentucky struggle in describing Election 2020 – National


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