Political expert weighs in on how abortion is impacting Kentucky’s governor race

Political expert weighs in on how abortion is impacting Kentucky’s governor race
Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 5:12 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The gubernatorial campaign is heating up as we quickly approach election day.

A big part of that is both candidates’ ad campaigns.

The most recent ad put out by the Beshear campaign discusses a huge talking point: abortion.

The ad features a young woman whose stepfather raped her when she was 12 years old. Right now, Kentucky’s abortion ban does not include rape and incest cases.

The woman in the ad says, “Anyone who believes there should be no exceptions for rape and incest could never understand what it’s like to stand in my shoes. This is to you, Daniel Cameron.”

The ad comes just days after Cameron went on the “Tony and Dwight Show” radio show, appearing to reverse his stance on Kentucky’s current near-all abortion ban.

Governor Andy Beshear’s republican rival, Daniel Cameron, responded to the ad, calling it a disgusting false attack.

“I’ve said if the legislature were to bring me a bill with exceptions, I would sign it.” AG Cameron said.

Before the ad even hit the air, political expert Dr. Stephen Voss says the issue of abortion already gave Governor Andy Beshear the upper hand in this race.

“Beshear is going in for re-election now after Roe v. Wade was struck down. Kentucky has a trigger law that stepped in restricting abortion to such a degree that now it’s the Republicans that are on the defensive,” Dr. Voss said.

Dr. Voss says during the primary, activists or interest groups on the outside can sometimes box or force their candidates to take unpopular positions.

He says democratic activists did not force Governor Beshear to take those sorts of positions, but he says the same wasn’t true for AG Cameron.

“As fewer and fewer voters are available to sway, what we’re likely to see is Daniel Cameron throwing a few hail Marys.” Dr. Voss said, “Cameron’s sort of massaging of his position on the abortion issue talking about openness to an exception on rape and incest might be an example of one of these risky efforts.”

Dr. Voss says at this point in the race, it will be tough for candidates to swing votes to their side.

We reached out to the Beshear campaign regarding Daniel Cameron’s response to the ad on abortion.

Alex Floyd with the Beshear campaign sent us the following statement:

“Daniel Cameron is desperate and lying. Andy Beshear has been clear for years that he supports reasonable restrictions, especially on late-term procedures. Cameron has repeatedly expressed his support for an extreme ban with no exceptions for rape and incest in debates, interviews, surveys—and defended this law to the Kentucky Supreme Court. He’s hiding his dangerous views now because he knows he’s losing support every day.”