While Kentucky Republicans have run countless ads trying to portray Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear as the driver of "the radical transgender agenda" ahead of next month's general election, the GOP's nominee seems to have decided he needs to alter his approach late in the campaign.
"Andy Beshear is a nice enough guy, but our approach is different," Attorney General Daniel Cameron acknowledges at the start of his newest TV spot.
He still can't resist throwing in some familiar jabs, like his claim that "Andy caves into the far left," but even so, the about-face is remarkable. As the Lexington Herald-Leader's Austin Horn notes, Cameron's ad "contrasts the 'lyin' Andy' or 'crazy Andy' attacks we've seen" throughout the race.
According to Horn, the shift in message is one "some Rs have been asking for for some time." The likely reason: Beshear has led in every public poll since May, including multiple Republican-sponsored surveys.
And Cameron isn't the only Republican to embrace that pivot. One of his ticket-mates is going even further by actually linking himself directly to Beshear. Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams, who is favored against Democrat Buddy Wheatley, features a prominent photo of him shaking hands with the governor in his latest ad; there is no accompanying shot of him with Cameron.
Beshear, for his part, is hoping that voters will hold the GOP's slash-and-burn tactics against Cameron. "My opponent's campaign is built on attacks and lies," he declares in what his campaign says is its last ad, "but you know me. And you know it isn't true." Beshear goes on to tout "tens of thousands of new jobs, our lowest unemployment rate ever."
Cameron may struggle to break through with his late adjustment, though, since Beshear's message is one that more voters are hearing: According to the Republican firm Medium Buying, 58% of all broadcast TV ads have been aired by the governor and his allies.