Kentucky attorney general candidates Daniel Cameron and Greg Stumbo locked horns during an hourlong debate on statewide television Monday.
The two rivals have engaged in a nasty fight for weeks on the airwaves and in the courtroom to be the state’s top prosecutor, which is a coveted seat for Democrats and Republicans this year.
Stumbo, a former attorney general and state House speaker, led by highlighting how he sued Oxycontin maker Purdue Pharma in 2007. He added how as a private lawyer working for the Florida-based law firm Morgan & Morgan, he has been working with the current attorney general’s office on several court cases against drugmakers.
“I know about those cases, I’ve worked on them (and) they’re good cases,” Stumbo, a Democrat, said. “I want to finish those cases.”
Cameron, the Republican nominee, pounced on his opponent’s answer, saying Stumbo showed a lack of commitment when he walked away from the office in 2007 to be the running mate for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bruce Lunsford.
“Well, he could have run for reelection for attorney general, but instead he opted to run for lieutenant governor because he didn’t think it was important enough to finish the job he started,” Cameron said.
KET host Renee Murphy, who moderated the debate, peppered both men with several questions about their views on various issues, which may have given voters a clear contrast.
Here are the big takeaways of the debate.
Democrats have swarmed on the 33-year-old Cameron’s work history, which was the focus on a lawsuit challenging his eligibility in Jefferson Circuit Court.
A judge ruled last week Cameron was qualified to run for attorney general, but Republicans have howled it was a political move by Democrats.
The suit was brought by Joseph Jackson, a Louisville resident who serves as a vice president of a labor union that has endorsed Stumbo.
“Renee, it’s Halloween season, and I know people make up ghosts and goblins but let me assure you I don’t know Mr. Jackson,” Stumbo said Monday when asked if he was involved. “I don’t know his attorneys, and I had nothing to do with that litigation.”
But Stumbo, 67, admitted during the debate he heard about the suit before it was filed in September. He also said that he had researched the question of whether Cameron has been a practicing lawyer for the required eight years under the state constitution.
Stumbo said the legal question remains, despite the judge’s ruling, and suggested it is a matter for the state Supreme Court to decide.
“What you’ve just heard from Mr. Stumbo is his view is the judge got it wrong,” Cameron said. “It sounds like someone who was involved in the litigation.”