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Elections: Trump-backed candidate Daniel Cameron wins Kentucky governor primary

A rising star in the GOP, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced his gubernatorial bid a year ago and led the polls in every month after he got an endorsement from former President Donald Trump long before his main opponent threw her hat in the ring. File photo by UPI
A rising star in the GOP, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced his gubernatorial bid a year ago and led the polls in every month after he got an endorsement from former President Donald Trump long before his main opponent threw her hat in the ring. File photo by UPI | License Photo

May 17 (UPI) -- Kentucky is set for a showdown in its gubernatorial race, Pennsylvania Democrats held onto control of the state House and Jacksonville, Fla., elected its first female mayor on Tuesday night.

Attorney General Daniel Cameron won the Republican primary for governor in Kentucky in a landslide, besting a field of 11 GOP candidates and setting up a November face-off with incumbent Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear.

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The Kentucky primary was called 10 minutes after polls closed, with Cameron receiving 45.4% of the vote, while the candidate closest to him was Kelly Craft, a Republican mega-donor who served as Trump's second U.N. ambassador, with only 17.6% of votes.

Cameron will face his biggest challenge in November when he faces the widely popular Beshear, who soundly defeated two primary challengers Tuesday by claiming more than 90% of the vote.

"Tonight, Kentucky voters took the first steps to secure four more years," Beshear said in Frankfort at his election watch party. "Tonight is a step in continuing some of the best and most hopeful progress Kentucky has ever seen."

Entering the night, Cameron was considered the candidate best odds to beat Beshear and deliver control of the Kentucky governor's office back to Republican hands.

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"Daniel has a strong case for being the advocate for people who feel like they were disenfranchised or not listened to or just trampled upon during COVID," said Scott Jennings, a Republican state advocate told Politico. "I mean small business owners, churches, parents. There's a lot of people out there that are still pretty sore about that."

Elsewhere, Democrats held on to a narrow majority in the Pennsylvania State House after Heather Boyd, a former congressional aide, beat Republican Katie Ford for the seat formerly held by Democratic Rep. Mike Zabel, who resigned in March amid accusations of sexual harassment.

The victory gives Democrats 102 seats in the House, which is the threshold for a majority of the 203-member body, as debate continues over the state budget, abortion, gun rights and election laws.

In another high-profile race in the Pennsylvania House, Republican Michael Stender won a special election for another vacant seat, giving the GOP 101 votes in the minority.

Tuesday was also historic as Florida Democrat Donna Deegan beat Republican Daniel Davis to become the first female mayor of Jacksonville.

"We made history tonight," Deegan told supporters in Downtown Jacksonville after garnering nearly 52% of the vote. "It's a brand new day in Jacksonville."

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Davis, who took 48% of the vote, called Deegan Tuesday night to congratulate her as Democrats reclaimed the mayor's office for the first time since 2015.

"I just received a very nice phone call from Daniel Davis who said to me that he is rooting for me and he will work for me to create a city that works for all of us," Deegan told supporters. "He is ready to work together and I'm ready to work with him and everybody else who loves this city to make this city everything it can be."

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