Kentucky AG race heats up after lawsuit seeks to remove Kentucky AG candidate from ballot

Published: Sep. 17, 2019 at 9:13 PM EDT
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A lawsuit is alleging the Republican nominee for Kentucky attorney general has not been a practicing attorney long enough to serve.

The suit filed in Jefferson County Circuit Court by Joseph L. Jackson of Louisville asks that Republican Daniel Cameron's name be removed from the ballot. The complaint says the state constitution requires eight years as a "practicing attorney." Cameron is running against Democrat Greg Stumbo.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the lawsuit says Cameron spent two years as a clerk for a federal judge and couldn't practice while serving. He was admitted to the bar in 2011.

In a statement, Cameron referenced a 1995 court decision in favor of Democratic attorney general candidate Ben Chandler that said it was sufficient that he had been admitted to the bar nine years earlier. Cameron said Jackson's lawsuit was orchestrated by Stumbo.

Here is Daniel Cameron's full statement:

“On the same day that Kentucky cops put their trust in the first African American Attorney General nominee ever to be their Chief Law Enforcement Officer, Greg Stumbo looked around and decided that the only way he can win is to steal the election. So he had an out of state law firm claim that Cameron a young, supremely qualified black attorney should not be on the ballot. It’s a farce and Stumbo’s a fool for wasting everyone’s time. This type of lawsuit was attempted on a young Democrat Ben Chandler when he ran for AG in the mid-90’s and was thrown out by a Franklin Circuit Judge. It will be thrown out again. The only way Stumbo can win is through corruption and he knows it. That’s how he’s operated in the past, and his sad, old school bullying attempt will not work on Daniel Cameron. Cameron is more than qualified to serve legally – remember this is 2019 not 1819 – we will not let an old white career politician cheat a young qualified black attorney out of a fair election.”

Stumbo responded to Cameron's statement by saying.

“Cameron’s attempt to make this campaign about race is disappointing and unfortunate. This campaign has nothing to do with race. It has everything to do with experience in the courts. The truth is Daniel Cameron has never prosecuted a case or defended a client in court; and he has never argued a legal brief before either the Appellate Court or the Supreme Court—at the state level or federal level. The Attorney General’s office is about one thing: courtroom experience. Either you have it or you don’t – and in this case, Daniel Cameron does not.”

Greg Stumbo, democratic candidate says to him it is simple.

"If he has only had a license eight years come October and by law couldn't practice for two years. The math is pretty clear he falls short of the constitutional requirements."

Josh Douglas, professor of law at the University of Kentucky, says when he heard about the case he did some research.

"My reaction is I think it is a pretty week legal case that there is nothing that I can find in the state constitutional provision that or the interpretation of it that would suggest clerking for a federal judge would not count as part of one's legal practice."

As of now, Greg Stumbo and Daniel Cameron will face off in the general election on Tuesday, November 5th.