Kentucky Republicans who backed Daniel Cameron, a black man, as the party's gubernatorial nominee still could have voted with "racism or racist intent," a liberal columnist argued.
In a Thursday piece titled, "Does choice of Daniel Cameron for governor mean Kentucky Republicans aren't racist?" Louisville Courier Journal writer Joseph Gerth argued that GOP voters who backed Cameron still may have exhibited their racism at the ballot box.
"A vote for a Black candidate doesn't rule out racism or racist intent," Gerth wrote. "The fact that Republicans were willing to nominate a Black man for governor doesn't mean they aren't racists. It simply means they are willing to nominate a Black man who acts as if racism doesn't exist."
Gerth went on to paint Cameron, the first black man elected statewide in Kentucky, as anti-black, citing the Republican's support for law enforcement and opposition toward critical race theory. In doing so, Gerth joined a long line of liberal media members who have attacked Cameron for his status as a black conservative. Last year, University of Louisville professor and fellow Courier Journal columnist Ricky Jones called Cameron "white supremacy in blackface." MSNBC's Ja'han Jones repeated the line in May, writing, "For many, Cameron, a Republican, is viewed as a Black face of white supremacy."
Kentucky voters elected Cameron as the state's attorney general in 2019. Four years later, the Republican is running to unseat Kentucky Democratic governor Andy Beshear. Cameron cruised to the GOP nomination earlier this month, carrying 47 percent of the vote, more than double the share of the second-place Republican, Kentucky agriculture commissioner Ryan Quarles.
Beyond his negative assessment of Kentucky GOP voters, Gerth, who declined to comment, criticized Cameron for "paraphrasing the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr." during his gubernatorial nominee acceptance speech. "Here in Kentucky, the American dream is alive and well because … you aren't judged by the color of your skin but by the content of your character," Cameron said. For Gerth, Cameron delivered that line merely because it allows him to "oppose policies like affirmative action that give African Americans … an advantage to let them thrive."
"The fact is, even though he is Black, Cameron takes stands against what the vast majority of Black people believe," Gerth wrote. "In many ways, Cameron has made himself into the Black man who doesn't scare white people and doesn't challenge them on issues of race."
Cameron responded by hammering Gerth Thursday afternoon, arguing in a Twitter thread that the writer "has a unique perspective born out of a far-left-world-view that cannot fathom black Americans thinking differently than him."
"For Gerth, my opinions, my parents' opinions, countless family members' opinions don't matter, because we're black conservatives," Cameron wrote. "I'll continue to stand unapologetically for the values that I believe in—and so many Kentuckians believe in—despite narrow and backwards thinking from Gerth and the radical left media."
Cameron will take on Beshear, a top target for Republicans looking to retake control of the governor's mansion, in November. The race has intensified since last week's primary, with the Democratic Governors Association pledging to spend money "at a historic pace" to ensure Beshear tops Cameron.