In debate, Cameron slams Beshear’s handling of pandemic; governor says ‘I’d rather save lives than win re-election’

By McKenna Horsley
Kentucky Lantern

During a debate Saturday night, the candidates for governor were asked if the state should have an ongoing plan for a future pandemic, like the Covid-19 pandemic that began in 2020, as well as what they thought were successes and failures in the response to the coronavirus.

Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who answered the question first, criticized Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear for closing schools, businesses and churches during the pandemic. Cameron has made similar comments on the campaign trail and in press conferences.

“What Andy Beshear did was wrong. I will respect your constitutional rights. I will look out for our most vulnerable populations,” Cameron said. “But at the end of the day, I will make sure that we respect you as a citizen and your constitutional rights.”

Beshear called the pandemic “the challenge of our lifetime” and noted that it killed 18,000 Kentuckians. He also praised health-care workers who worked during the pandemic and added that it was “a slap in the face of the heroism that they showed” for Cameron to refuse “to act like this pandemic was as deadly as it was.”

“I made decisions to save lives,” Beshear said. “It’s clear this attorney general would have played politics. That would have caused more death, more destruction. I’d rather save lives than win re-election.”

Saturday’s debate was hosted by the League of Women Voters of Louisville and TV station WLKY. During a couple of tense moments, Beshear directly asked Cameron to answer questions about abortion.

Cameron said last month that he would sign legislation adding exceptions in cases of rape and incest to Kentucky’s near-total abortion ban if the General Assembly passed it. However, he has not directly said if he personally supports those exceptions and continues to call himself the “pro-life candidate.”

I a rebuttal, Beshear said, “I got a few seconds left. So, General Cameron, will you look at the camera and say, ‘I support exceptions for rape and incest?’”

Cameron replied, “I’ve already said that I will sign the exceptions if they are brought to my desk. At the end of the day, this governor wants more abortions. There is no difference between him and Joe Biden on this issue.”

The next gubernatorial debate, hosted by KET, is set for 8 p.m. ET Monday. followed by the candidates’ last debate at 7 p.m. ET Tuesday, hosted by Lexington’s WKYT-TV.

Beshear’s running mate, Lt. Gov. ​Jacqueline Coleman, and Cameron’s running mate, state Sen. Robby Mills of Henderson, will face each other in a KET debate on Oct. 30. Voting concludes Nov. 7.

This story was excerpted from a longer one. For the original, go here.
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