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Heated Kentucky Governor’s Debate: Economic, Crime, and Abortion Issues Spark Contention

On Tuesday, October 24, 2023, in Lexington, Kentucky, Attorney General Daniel Cameron and Governor Andy Beshear participated in a gubernatorial debate. (Source: WAVE News)

On Tuesday, the Kentucky governor’s debate with the attorney general got heated as both sparred on every subject for the upcoming elections

Tuesday’s debate between Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and Attorney General Daniel Cameron got heated as they sparred and argued over one another on almost every subject, particularly the economy. Cameron probed Beshear on taxes, crime, and educational outcomes. Beshear went particularly hard at Cameron over exceptions to the state abortion ban, a repeated theme in television advertisements, and charter schools.

The discussion, which was hosted at Northern Kentucky University and moderated by a panel of Cincinnati-area and Lexington-area journalists, took place in a rapidly expanding area with two “swing” counties that supported Beshear by narrow percentages in 2019.

In contrast to the previous Kentucky governor’s debate, candidates were permitted to refute one another’s responses when they were raised, which was the case for the majority of responses.

All the themes were heated, but the two that were the hottest were crime and abortion.

In his closing remarks, Cameron stated that the election was a contest between “crazy versus normal.”

“It’s crazy to have a governor who endorsed Joe Biden, who shut down businesses during COVID, who endorses biological males in female sports,” he declared. “We can make this Commonwealth a model for the nation and a shining city on a hill.”

Beshear argued in opposition, saying, “We have experienced a lot, including a pandemic, a tornado, and windstorms […] But we are rated No. 2 in per capita development, and we have created 40,000 high-paying jobs. A political person will stop that. In terms of insane vs. normal, it’s crazy that we don’t have a governor who will declare his support for exclusions that would shield children as young as nine from rape.


The Kentucky economy dominated the Kentucky governor’s debate as Beshear promoted his track record of bringing growth to the state. In 2022, the Office of State Budget Director reported a 14.6% increase in income from the previous year.

Beshear claimed that in order to do this and bring large corporations like Ford and Amazon to the state, he had to be able to work across party lines.

But Cameron criticized him for failing to address inflation and for not giving Kentucky citizens more money.

Cameron stated, “My strategy is to get rid of the income tax in Kentucky. This is really a philosophical disagreement, I think. The governor wants more of your money to go to the government. You should receive more of your money, please.”

“According to Andy Beshear, the government is best positioned to manage and control your money. I believe that you, as a citizen of this Commonwealth, deserve to keep more of the money you have worked so hard to earn,” said Cameron.

The attorney general said that his connections with Republicans in the state legislature will help pass legislation and advance the state.


Cameron retaliated against Beshear for pardoning criminals during the COVID-19 outbreak and placing the state temporarily under lockdown in 2020.

In Cameron’s words during the Kentucky governor’s debate, he said, “You don’t feel safer because you’re not safer under this governor. There has been a 68% increase in murders in our rural communities. There’s been a 30% increase across the state. That’s not something that the governor is going to be able to run from over the course of these next two or three weeks.”

Beshear received the union’s support in the 2019 contest for governor against former Kentucky governor Matt Bevin, but he did not receive it in this election.

Cameron, however, came under fire from Beshear later for failing to use his position as state attorney general to forge better ties with Louisville authorities to combat violent crime.

As the most restrictive abortion law in the nation, he constantly criticized Cameron for failing to indicate he would personally enact exceptions to it.

In response, Cameron asserted that he would approve any exceptions that the legislature sent his way.


One of the key subjects that has influenced the election in recent weeks is abortion, and it remained a hot topic on Monday.

Beshear and Cameron were engaged in a fight about where to focus the Kentucky governor’s debate, with Beshear adamantly pressing for a bill without exceptions for rape or incest and Cameron trying to steer the conversation away from where Beshear would restrict access to abortion.

Even though the present legislation prohibiting almost all abortions at any stage of pregnancy is currently being contested in the courts, the discussion around Cameron’s viewpoint is more pertinent for Kentuckians.

“When individuals say ‘week this’ or ‘week that,’ Kentuckians become perplexed as to what the legislation is. Zero is the rule. There are none,” Beshear remarked.

“Who was ‘pro-life’ and who wasn’t?” was how Cameron attempted to reframe the Kentucky governor’s debate.

Cameron remarked, “I’m the pro-life candidate, and Andy is the abortion candidate,” before misrepresenting Beshear’s position by asserting that he “doesn’t want any limits on abortion.”

Beshear stated that he would support a measure that permits the surgery up until fetal viability, which is roughly 24 weeks, in a recent interview with the Herald-Leader.

The debate only got more heated from then on. Watch the full debate here:[0]=AZUkLgeKLu_nOSu7oH5DaBGVZV6B4-aNXlwe5lpeReg7o7z1g_qUKX-EEMFlrRD6v1rs50ZP3tIev-k-caOzdrrCaHThkSfliHH9fWh1Mx5Kcw_06C-wxiKA2lQPfs4eEvL8_sNnmIFcNlb0X0Xt5o5SWt3y80f6XymVizTKON-bbRMPeCx8jRyOzYUboYwZZwbz0n5FhuQFVGZ6wu9lNN-BP_RtSStlv4bmjjhGOiyk_A

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