Comer makes first post-primary appearances, but don't call it a political comeback

08/02/2015 08:31 PM

MAYFIELD — Agriculture Commissioner James Comer re-entered the public spotlight for the first time since his May 19 loss in the Republican gubernatorial primary, but don’t call it a comeback.

In the days leading up to the political speaking event and picnic, Comer’s future was much speculated over with insiders claiming a potential coming Congressional race — something Comer said was not going to happen.

Comer did not want to speak on camera after the breakfast with Pure Politics, but did reply to a text message on Sunday saying he was heading home at the end of his term and would re-enter private life.

“I am going to finish my term out as Ag Commissioner and then go back home to Monroe Co and run my businesses,” Comer said in a text message Sunday.

The Lexington Herald-Leader did speak on-the-record with Comer on Saturday. Comer told the newspaper his plans to return to Monroe County at the end of his term, but added that he’d re-evaluate his political future “on down the road.”

On Saturday morning Comer was the last of the featured speakers in Mayfield at the Graves County Executive Committee Fancy Farm Breakfast. Comer’s steps to the podium featured the most boisterous applause of any of the speakers, which included Matt Bevin, U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, and U.S Rep. Ed Whitfield.

During the Saturday morning speech Comer praised the work of 1st District Congressman Whitfield, R-Hopkinsville, and poked fun at his 83-vote loss to Bevin in the primary, presenting the GOP nominee with a University of Cincinnati shirt with the candidates last name and the number 83 printed on the back.

Comer said he thought of Bevin seeing the Cincinnati t-shirt because it reminded Comer of northern Kentucky and they “really like Matt Bevin in northern Kentucky — a lot.”

A bobble head doll of President Barack Obama was also offered at the breakfast by Comer, saying it reminded him of Democratic candidate Jack Conway, but the Louisville Courier-Journal provided the punchline for Comer.

“Does anybody in here represent the Conway campaign?” Comer asked. “Where’s the Courier-Journal? (Joe) Gerth I’ll leave this for you. You can hand-deliver it.”

Whitfield spoke with Pure Politics about his political future and about Comer before the breakfast began.

Whitfield, who is under a House Ethics Committee probe over whether he improperly helped his wife’s work as a lobbyist for the Humane Society Legislative Fund, said he will run for re-election to a 12th term. Whitfield has denied allegations of improper conduct.

The 11-term incumbent said he has not spoken to Comer, who he endorsed in the primary, on his political future, but said his public life looks bright — if Comer wants it.

“I haven’t talked to Jamie, but he’s a great candidate,” Whitfield said. “… I think as long as he would like to be involved he will have a great future in politics.”

In his final speech at Fancy Farm as the commissioner of agriculture, Comer thanked the partisan crowd for placing him in the position four years ago.

Comer delivered a mainly nonpartisan speech, highlighting his accomplishments in office in his two minutes on the stage during the Fancy Farm political speaking.

He also called on voters to support the Republican ticket.

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics, the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like the connection between the high profile Steubenville, Ohio rape and a Kentucky hacker whose push for further investigation could put him in federal prison. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.

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