Several GOP candidates for governor face off in KET candidate program

Published: May. 1, 2023 at 9:48 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - With just over two weeks until Kentucky’s primary election, five of the twelve names appearing on the Republican ballot for governor faced off in a statewide forum Monday night.

Daniel Cameron, Kelly Craft, Eric Deters, Alan Keck and Ryan Quarles were all invited by KET.

This is the first time the two front runners, Daniel Cameron and Kelly Craft, have shared a stage during the campaign.

A wide range of topics was discussed, from gun legislation to Medicaid. They were even asked how they would have handled the COVID response.

The debate about gun control and other legislation took center stage after last month’s deadly mass shooting at Old National Bank in Louisville.

The candidates were read a Fox News poll that says more than 80% of voters favor background checks, requiring mental health checks and a waiting period while buying a gun.

They were then asked point blank where they stand on any kind of legislation, and that includes the law that allows weapons used in murders to be auctioned off.

CRAFT: “I am not touching the Second Amendment and due process. We need to make certain that we follow the rules that are currently written. We have to open the conversation of mental health, of mental illness.”

QUARLES: “I think that the Second Amendment should be respected. I think that our due process rights should be respected as well. The household I grew up in is like countless other Kentuckians. I was proud that my dad taught me how to shoot a gun, bought him one for Christmas for personal protection.”

KECK: “I do think that we have an olive branch on murder weapons. I think it is insane that those are being sold to the highest bidder. That should not be a showpiece. It’s a murder weapon, and I can’t imagine that grieving family knowing that that gun is going to somebody’s mantel.”

CAMERON: “I don’t support any kind of gun control. The Second Amendment is sacrosanct, and we need to make sure that we protect it for Kentuckians all across the Commonwealth.”

DETERS: “I think I stand with Kentuckians across the state that I am sick of tired of the gun violence that happens where the violence comes from those shootings, and the people who are being shot are not armed.”

Shortly after this exchange, the forum went off the rails for a bit with accusations regarding fundraising, ethics, and candidates under investigation.

Kelly Craft accused Daniel Cameron of not having confidence in the Louisville Metro Police Department, referring to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland’s investigation into civil rights violations related to the Breonna Taylor case.

Eric deters called out all the candidates for not supporting former President Trump’s attacks on the 2020 election.

WKYT and Gray Television will host the Kentucky debate next Monday, May 8. It will be at Transylvania University at 7 p.m. We are still awaiting confirmation from some of the candidates who were invited.