Ag Commish candidate Bob Farmer makes jokes about Eastern Kentucky, GOP not laughing

06/21/2011 11:38 AM

Democratic Agriculture Commissioner candidate Bob Farmer has apologized after a video released by his opponent shows Farmer making fun of Eastern Kentuckians for being toothless, and admitting he has no agriculture experience.

Farmer is facing Republican state Rep. James Comer of Tompkinsville in the general election for commissioner of agriculture.

In what appears to be part of Farmer’s comedy act, Farmer slams “Eastern Kentuckians” with jokes that are less than flattering to people who live in the eastern part of the state. He said in one portion of the video that “the cars are on blocks and the houses on wheels,” in Eastern Kentucky.

He also says his wife is from Eastern Kentucky, but refers to the people of that region as toothless and inbred.

The Republican Party of Kentucky and some Eastern Kentucky lawmakers sent out a release moments after the video hit YouTube, calling on the Kentucky Democratic Party to denounce Farmer and demanding an apology.

“I will never respect the man for what he said about the people in my district,” said Sen. Robert Stivers, R-Manchester. Stivers represents Clay, Knox, Lee, McGoffin, Morgan, Owsley and Wolfe counties. “I represent hard-working people who pay taxes and support their families. A lot of Democrats from my area will not appreciate this man’s humor. He couldn’t run for dog catcher here.”

Republican Party of Kentucky chairman Steve Robertson was quoted in the release as saying, “If the Kentucky Democratic Party does not renounce this fool’s ridiculous little routine, it will lose every bit of credibility with voters. To Bob Farmer I would say this: don’t quit your day job…whatever it is. You will not be Kentucky’s next Agriculture Commissioner.”

Farmer issued an apology through his campaign.

““I sincerely apologize if my comments offended any of my fellow Kentuckians,” Farmer said. “Over the years, I have spoken across the country to groups and shared my love for our Commonwealth and its people in hope that people see these comments an as an attempt at humor, not an insult.”

And Kentucky Democratic Party chairman Dan Logsdon said Farmer’s remarks were “offensive.”

“Mr. Farmer has apologized for his offensive remarks, which he needed to do,” Logsdon said. “His comments were neither funny or appropriate.”

Note: This story will be updated as needed.

About Pure Politics

Pure Politics with Ryan Alessi airs Monday through Friday at 7 p.m. ET and again at 11:30 p.m. ET in all of cn|2's Kentucky markets. The program features political analysis and news, as well as interviews with officials, candidates, policy makers and political observers.


  • Daniel Boone wrote on June 21, 2011 12:46 PM :

    So this guy apologized; he only did it because he got caught, which is typical of politicians. If he was truly sincere, he would have never used untrue and mean stereotypes about people from Eastern Kentucky to make a few bucks and sell some DVD’s. It’s too little, too late as far as I’m concerned.

  • Bruce Layne wrote on June 22, 2011 12:43 PM :

    I live in Lexington now, but I spent the first 18 years of my life growing up in far Eastern Kentucky. I’m not easily offended, but Farmer’s comments certainly were offensive. I wasn’t injured by his snide comments, but his lack of judgment convinced me that he hasn’t the temperament or discretion to hold any public office.

    These are the type of comments that can be funny when shared within a subculture, but they’re never funny stereotypes when applied from outside. The context was essentially, “I’m from Louisville, so I’m not an ignorant inbred hick like those people from eastern Kentucky. They’re the reason that people around the country make disparaging jokes about Kentuckians, so let’s make fun of them so we can feel better about ourselves.”

    Adding insult to injury, he also jokes about running for ag commissioner because his last name is Farmer, implying that dumb Kentuckians will associate that with the ag commissioner position, even though Farmer is from Louisville and has never owned or operated a farm.

    So what are his credentials for this job, anyway… other than his B grade standup comedy that demeans a large percentage of Kentuckians with the worst sort of mean spirited stereotypes?

  • Ray wrote on June 23, 2011 11:44 AM :

    Slow down Repubs- his family is from Eastern Ky and he was a traveling humorist getting people to laugh while working at places like the Grand Ole Opry. You have taken it all out of context. If he wants to make fun of himself with silly jokes in the style of Jeff Foxworthy’s You MIght Be a Redneck , you can’t be dishonest about his intentions!

    Since Al Cross has become Jamie Comer’s de facto campaign manager, how will they explain Comer has voted time and again 100% against any funding for the Ag department’s budget? First he wants to axe the Ag Dept then next he wants to lead it. That’s wierd…

  • Truth Teller wrote on June 24, 2011 11:35 AM :

    Wait a minute, Farmer spoke at Frank Simon’s candidate forum in March and I clearly recall he said that his wife is from Hart County. Last time I saw a map of Kentucky Hart County is nowhere near Eastern Kentucky. So does that mean he says one thing to one group, and another thing to a different group?

    If he does then I wonder what else might be out there. Comer did say more videos would be released between now and November. I think if I were him I wouldn’t back out of any post-election comedy club bookings since it may be the only job he’ll have come 2012.

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