Holsclaw consultant calls into KET debate under different name to ask Richie Farmer a question

05/03/2011 03:51 PM

The consultant who is serving as spokesman for one Republican slate called into the lieutenant governor candidate debate on Kentucky Educational Television under another name to ask a pointed question of rival lieutenant governor candidate Richie Farmer.

Mike Karem has been working on behalf of the GOP ticket of Bobbie Holsclaw and her running mate, Bill Vermillion.

He confirmed to Pure Politics that he called the KET lieutenant governor candidate debate using the name “George Michael” of Louisville to ask Farmer about some of his spending as Agriculture Commissioner, including a trip last year to a conference in the Virgin Islands and a purchase of new vehicles.

“Do you think that’s a good use of my tax dollars?” he said at the end of his question.

That put Farmer on the defensive.

“First of all, the buying of the cars, I took over buying my fleet … four years ago. We had cars that were out-of-date and were spending a lot of money on maintenance fees and other things,” Farmer said.

That section of the debate was included in Thursday’s edition of Pure Politics as part of a recap of the candidate debate.

After realizing the voice of the questioner sounded familiar, I called Karem to ask if he was the caller.

He confirmed he was. Karem said he decided to use a false name because he had called into other programs to ask questions of candidates and received threats afterward.

“Literally, I got threats,” he said. “I’ve gotten emails and phone calls.”

He said he didn’t take the threats seriously enough to notify the police.

- Ryan Alessi


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