The candidacy of Daniel Cameron is being challenged by a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Jefferson Circuit Court.

Cameron, who was raised in Hardin County, is the Re­pub­lican nom­i­nee for state attorney gen­er­al on the Nov. 5 ballot. He is a former legal counsel to U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell and has been endorsed by President Donald Trump.

“Our intent is to have this case heard before the election so that voters can be sure they cast ballots only for candidates that are actually qualified to represent the Commonwealth as its chief attorney,” said Ben Gastel, the attorney who filed the complaint, in a prepared statement.

The suit claims Cameron fails to meet a qualification in the Kentucky Constitution. As adopted in 1891, Section 92 of the Constitution lists one requirement for the attorney general. It said the officeholder “shall have been a practicing lawyer eight years before his election.”

Citing a similar objection un­success­fully filed against Dem­o­crat Ben Chandler in 1995, when he was seeking to become attorney general, Cameron’s campaign manager expressed confidence the case quickly will be dismissed in court.

“This is a Hail Mary attempt by the Democrats to steal an election away from a supremely qualified candidate,” said Nick Weinstein of the Cameron campaign.

The lawsuit said Cameron, 33, received his license in October of 2011 before going to work as a clerk for U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove.

In an interview, Ga­s­tel said law clerks are barred from practicing law by ethics guidelines, which are a condition of employment. The lawsuit also states Kentucky courts have defined the practice of law as using legal knowledge to represent the needs of a client, which is not the same as assisting a judge.

Gastel, a partner in the firm of Branstetter, Stranch and Jennings, said passing the bar exam to earn a law license is not a “sufficient condition” to meet the constitutional requirement.

A 2004 graduate of John Hardin High School, Cameron’s bio said he grad­uated in 2011 from the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at the Uni­versity of Louisville. After serving as a law clerk, he was McConnell’s legal counsel from 2015 to 2017 and joined the law firm of Frost Brown Todd in Louisville. He defeated Wil Schroder in the May primary to earn the GOP nomination.

In the 1995 case, a Franklin circuit judge dismissed the challenge against Chandler, who had been a lawyer for eight years but spent four serving in the elected position of state auditor.

Filed seven weeks be­fore election day, the law­suit names Joseph Jack­son of Louisville as the plaintiff. Gastel said Jack­son’s interest was to ensure all candidates who appear on the ballot are qualified.

“It is critical to the rule of law in the Com­mon­wealth that only constitutionally qualified candidates for elected office appear on the ballot,” Gastel’s news release said.

Greg Stumbo, the Dem­o­crat seeking the attorney general’s post, frequently has challenged Cameron’s experience as being insufficient for the office. The former House speaker, who is 68, previously served as attorney general from 2004 to 2008.

During a campaign appearance Monday evening in Radcliff, Stumbo referred to the possibility of a suit being filed.

In a formal statement released by Weinstein, he accused Stumbo of being behind the legal action.

“It’s a farce and Stum­bo’s a fool for wasting everyone’s time,” the state­ment said. It goes on to say, “The only way Stumbo can win is through corruption and he knows it.”

Meredith Scalos, a mem­ber of Stumbo’s staff, said he only “had heard rumblings about it” and the campaign was not a party to the case.

A spokeswoman for the Kentucky Democrat Party also said rumors of a pending challenge had circulated but the headquarters had no information prior to its filing.

Stumbo was not avail­able for comment Tues­day.

Gastel said the suit was filed in Jefferson County because that’s Cameron’s county of residence.

Ben Sheroan can be reached at 270-505-1764 or bsheroan@thenewsenterprise.com.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.
Terms of Use. The complete terms of use policy can be found at the bottom of this page.