Comer looking to 2015 general election saying he is not scared of running against Conway

08/22/2014 10:46 AM

Agriculture Commissioner James Comer is already looking beyond the Republican primary for governor with a message to Democratic candidate Jack Conway saying he has “no fear” of Conway “what so ever.”

In a recent poll on the 2015 race, Conway was ahead of all potential Republican challengers. But of those head-to-head matches, the poll had Comer only three points behind Conway.

At this point, Conway is the only Democrat to announce his candidacy in the race with many of the other big name Democrats expected to run bowing out early. But Comer said Thursday he is not worried about the possibility of Conway being more difficult to beat if he does not have a primary.

“I have no fear of Jack Conway what so ever,” Comer said. “If Jack Conway runs unopposed that’s fine. Jack Conway has been defined by Rand Paul; he was overwhelmingly rejected in a U.S. Senate race and a congressional race. Jack Conway is wrong on all the issues.”

Comer said if he does face Conway in the general election next year, he believes the voters will see the difference between the two when they talk about business climate and a vision for moving the state forward.

“I tell people, I hope Jack Conway wins the Democratic primary. I am for him in the primary,” Comer said. “I think there is a clear distinction between Jack Conway and myself and I am looking very forward to this campaign.”

As for the primary election, the same poll had Comer trailing in a head-to-head match-up against Louisville businessman Hal Heiner—the only other Republican to announce his intentions for the race. But Comer has said he is not worried about the poll because Heiner has been in the race longer with more money spent and more name id because of it.

So far, the two have not had a difference of opinion on many issues like the need for a better business climate in the state, Right to Work legislation and other issues in their platforms, as seen when Comer and Heiner shared a stage at the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Business Summit.

But Comer says that when his campaign really kicks off on Sept. 9 and people see who his running mate is and the type of campaign he is prepared to run, there will be no question about who can better lead the state.

“A big part of the election should be, for example, look at the running mate. Did you pick someone as your running mate who can serve as governor? Who has the credibility and the leadership skills to be governor? My running mate will be that person,” Comer said.

The agriculture commissioner said the race will come down to who can win over all demographics of voters in the state from the Democrats and Independents to the soccer moms.

“I believe after seven or eight months on the campaign trail, that question will be clearly defined that James Comer can be elected,” Comer said.

But when it comes to questions about whether or not Comer can win over the large voting base of Louisville—Heiner’s hometown—some in the city have not taken kindly to comments made by Comer during his announcement at the annual Fancy Farm where he promised the next governor of the state would “not be a multimillionaire from Louisville.”

As WFPL recently reported, it is hard for a candidate to do well in an election without the vote of the more than 150,000 registered Republicans in the city. But Comer told Pure Politics Thursday, he has been working in Louisville behind the scenes for the four months leading up to his announcement and has the support he needs.

“I wouldn’t have announced that I am going to run and launch my campaign on September 9 has we not had a strong financial base here in Louisville and a strong base of support in Louisville,” Comer said. “We have broad base support all throughout Jefferson county, I am proud of that. I am proud of the support we have in all 120 counties.”

Louisville Republicans Matt Bevin and Cathy Bailey are also still considering the 2015 race.

About Pure Politics

Pure Politics 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.

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