On Tuesday, Kentuckians will vote in the state’s highly publicized — and very expensive — governor’s race. Democrat incumbent Andy Beshear is facing off against current Republican attorney general Daniel Cameron. Polls throughout the race have shown Beshear leading by double digits, but GOP consultants I’ve spoken to are cautiously optimistic about Cameron’s chances, noting that his numbers have been rising over the past couple of weeks and that many Kentucky voters remain undecided, which is usually bad news for the incumbent. Trump also reupped his endorsement of Cameron this week in an attempt to disrupt Beshear’s relatively high approval rating among Trump supporters.
Cameron’s recent rise has inspired some late-stage nastiness. Black Voters Matter Action PAC, the political arm of an Atlanta-based activist group, released an ad Tuesday comparing Cameron to Samuel L. Jackson’s self-hating slave character in the movie Django Unchained. “All skin folk ain’t kinfolk,” BVM asserted, referring to the first black nominee for governor in Kentucky as “Uncle Daniel Cameron.” BVM mostly takes issue with the lack of charges brought by Cameron against police officers who fatally shot Breonna Taylor.
Cameron rejected the ad as “hateful” but Beshear has neglected to denounce the racial attack, stating that because it came from “an African American-led PAC” he would “let them comment for themselves.”
Scott Jennings, a Kentucky-based GOP operative and CNN commentator, described the ad as “despicable,” noting that it is “sadly par for the course for Kentucky Democrats.”
“That Governor Beshear couldn’t muster the courage to denounce this racism in his own party really tells you how partisan he is, despite his pronouncements to the contrary,” Jennings told me.
The Washington Examiner reported Wednesday that George Soros has given $2 million to Black Voters Matter Action PAC in the past few years. A scan of FEC records reveals that Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who coincidentally was one of the stars of Django Unchained, threw a little over $400 at BVM in 2020.
On our radar
AIRTAGS… FOR CARS DC Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Wednesday that she will provide DC residents with free tracking tags for their vehicles amid a rise in carjackings in the nation’s capital. Earlier this week, Bowser lashed out against a judge who sent a teen carjacking suspect home rather than to a detention facility.
‘SQUAD’ CHALLENGED Members of the so-called progressive “squad” are facing primary challenges from fellow Democrats over their support for Palestine. St. Louis County prosecutor Wesley Bell abandoned his race against Missouri GOP Senator Josh Hawley to instead attempt to unseat Representative Cori Bush: “I think we have to stand with our allies, and Israel has always been an ally,” Bell said.
BUCK BOUNCING Colorado representative Ken Buck announced in a video to constituents that he will not run for re-election in 2024, asserting that the Republican Party “lost our way.” Buck has recently taken issue with some GOP members’ focus on alleged 2020 election fraud and an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.
Speaker Johnson’s fundraising fight
One of the major concerns for the GOP political establishment when Kevin McCarthy was ousted from being speaker of the House was if his replacement could rival his fundraising prowess. Well, Axios reported this morning that Johnson is bringing in major grassroots cash for Republicans; the National Republican Congressional Committee raised $1 million online since Johnson became speaker, its biggest one-week haul of the election cycle.
Johnson surprised many beltway insiders when he opted to keep the infrastructure of the NRCC and Congressional Leadership Fund — the GOP speaker’s de facto PAC — intact. When Axiom Strategies sent a congratulatory tweet to its “client and friend,” rumors swirled that the Jeff Roe-led consulting machine would be brought into the fold. But Punchbowl Newsreported that key Trump allies warned Johnson he better not work with Roe, who is also currently managing Ron DeSantis’s presidential campaign. Better yet, sources close to the situation tell Cockburn that Trump personally called Johnson to warn that the speaker would be making a very powerful enemy if he were to allow Roe or Axiom anywhere near the GOP congressional campaign apparatus. Johnson is clearly listening.
Senate unveils anti-Hamas legislation
Senators Pete Ricketts and Tim Scott released the Stop Support for Hamas Act yesterday, which hits the terrorist organization Hamas and its allies where it hurts: their pockets.
The Ricketts-Scott bill goes after several of the main vehicles of funds for both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, namely by cutting off funds to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which is “effectively a branch of Hamas,” per the New Republic. The bill also strengthens the Taylor Force Act, a bill named after a West Point grad who was stabbed to death in Israel by a Palestinian terrorist.
The family of the now-deceased terrorist who killed Force receives monthly payments from the Palestinian Authority Martyr’s Fund as part of its “pay-to-slay” program. Ricketts and Scott want all aid to the Palestinian Authority halted until it ends this barbaric practice.
The Ricketts-Scott bill comes on the heels of Senator Ted Cruz releasing the “first piece of legislation to comprehensively target Hamas,” the Hamas Sanctions Act, which punishes countries like Turkey and Qatar and hotel chains like the Four Seasons for providing safe havens to Hamas leaders. Last week, Representative Michael Waltz demanded that Bill Gates used his financial control of the Four Seasons hotel to ban Hamas’s leaders from posting up in Qatar any longer.
Some of Biden’s critics outside of Congress warn that taxpayer funds may have actually been used in Hamas’s October 7 attack. Protect the Public’s Trust (PPT) recovered documents earlier this year that show Biden officials warned that there is a “high risk Hamas could potentially derive indirect, unintentional benefit from US assistance to Gaza.”
Based on PPT’s findings, its director Michael Chamberlain told me that “our worst fears may have been realized and American taxpayers may have unwittingly helped fund the brutality and depravity the world witnessed on October 7.”
– Matthew Foldi