Daniel Cameron was the early frontrunner in the contest, earning the enviable endorsement of former President Donald Trump last year. But he struggled to fundraise, and was heavily outspent by Kelly Craft, Trump’s former ambassador to the United Nations, who self-funded her campaign to the tune of roughly $10 million, as at least $1.5 million from her husband helped seed a superPAC. Craft heavily outspent Cameron on TV, trying to paint him as too “woke” and “soft” to fight back liberals, likening him to a teddy bear, as she doubled down on promises to dismantle the state Department of Education (which the governor doesn’t have the power to do).

Craft’s more nationalized, social grievance-driven campaign fell flat, while Cameron emphasized the work he’d done as Kentucky attorney general. She finished a distant third, behind state Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, who relied on his ties in rural Kentucky to leap into second place, despite spending far less than either Cameron or Craft and their allies did.

With nearly all votes counted, Cameron took 48% of the vote in the

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