Updated May 16, 2023

The Kentucky Derby may have been last week, but the Bluegrass State’s Republican gubernatorial primary on May 16 has also become surprisingly competitive — and with a low-turnout election likely, an unpredictable photo finish isn’t entirely out of the question.

Attorney General Daniel Cameron started the race as the clear GOP frontrunner and crucially nabbed an endorsement from former President Donald Trump early on. National and Kentucky sources we’ve talked to still believe he’s the most likely to finish first and grab the nomination to face popular Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear.

Add in heavy spending by President Trump’s former UN Ambassador Kelly Craft to raise her name ID statewide, and mudslinging between the top two candidates, and there is a remote chance that a third candidate, state Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles could sneak through.

Still, Republican operatives we’ve talked to in the state over the past few days still believe the race is Cameron’s to lose.

“Out of the starting gate, Cameron jumped to a huge lead, relinquished it halfway through the race,

More from the Cook Political Report

First Person
Cook Politcal Logo