Kentucky’s former attorney general to lead conservative group that fights ‘woke’ corporations

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Former Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron has been hired to help lead a group pushing back against what it sees as “woke ideology” in the corporate sector, marking the Republican’s next chapter since losing his bid for governor in one of the nation’s most closely watched elections in 2023.

Cameron accepted the job as CEO of 1792 Exchange, a role that will include trying to thwart investing that considers environmental, social and governance factors. It was an issue Cameron dealt with as attorney general and frequently talked about during his unsuccessful attempt to unseat Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear, who notched a convincing victory for a second term last November.

Cameron, 38, who was pegged as a rising Republican star with ties to U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and former President Donald Trump, didn’t rule out another run for elected office but said he’s looking forward to delving into his new role in the meantime.

“We will shine a bright light on those whose ideological agendas seek to dismantle American freedom and prosperity,” Cameron said in a news release. “We will stop investment management firms, elected officials and corporate interests from using other people’s money to advance their radical political agendas.”

The 1792 Exchange says its mission is to steer public companies to a neutral stance on divisive, ideological issues. In announcing Cameron’s hiring, its founder, Nathan Estruth, said: “I simply cannot imagine a more capable and qualified chief executive to help us safeguard free exercise, free speech and free enterprise.”

Cameron’s four-year term as Kentucky’s attorney general ended Monday when his successor, former federal prosecutor Russell Coleman, also a Republican, was sworn in. Cameron broke barriers as Kentucky’s first Black attorney general and the state’s first major-party Black nominee for governor.

Cameron, a staunch conservative, is a former legal counsel to McConnell and won Trump’s endorsement early in the crowded GOP primary for governor, navigating the feud between the GOP heavyweights.

Cameron said Wednesday that his family will continue living in Kentucky. He and his wife, Makenze, are expecting their second child in the spring. They have a 2-year-old son.

He pointedly didn’t rule out another run for elected office at some point in the future.

“We’ll continue to be engaged and continue to work to make sure that this commonwealth and our country are the best possible version of themselves,” Cameron said in a phone interview.

Cameron’s term as attorney general was marked by a series of legal challenges against state and national Democratic policies. Known for his disciplined style, he didn’t offer any post-mortems Wednesday on his unsuccessful campaign for governor.

“We worked really hard and met a lot of people and had a lot of rewarding experiences, and certainly grateful to have served as the AG and then to have been the Republican nominee for governor in Kentucky,” he said in a phone interview. “Never in my wildest dreams growing up did I think that would occur in terms of a sequence of events in my life.”

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