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James Comer Joins Race for First District Congressional Seat

comer
T.J. and James Comer

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer is joining a growing field of Republican candidates seeking the first district congressional seat of retiring Congressman Ed Whitfield.

Whitfield announced his retirement plan Tuesday. Comer went public with his intentions to run Wednesday.

With discord growing among the Republican Party in Congress, Comer said it is time for a new generation of leaders to emerge.

“We need people that are willing to fight for the working middle class,” Comer said. “We need people that are willing to stand up to the special interests and vote the way that the taxpayers of Kentucky want them to vote.”

Comer was unsuccessful in a gubernatorial run earlier this year, suffering a narrow, 83-vote defeat in the primary to Republican candidate Matt Bevin.

Comer said Wednesday said he will not let the contentious climate among the Republican Party in Congress keep him from his style of politics.

“I’m a strong conservative. But I’m willing to work with people to move America forward,” Comer said. “And it doesn’t matter if it’s a democrat idea or a republican idea. We need to work together and that’s what my record’s been about in the public and private sectors and that’s the kind of congressman I’ll be.”

Comer said he has a record of bipartisanship that would serve well in producing a balanced budget, one of his top priorities.

Regarding the recent controversy over federal funding of Planned Parenthood, Comer said it is important avoid a government shutdown but said “we absolutely cannot spend money on things like Planned Parenthood.”

Comer joins Whitfield’s long-time district director Michael Pape in the Republican Primary. Hickman County Attorney Jason Batts is also joining the field and will hold a news conference Thursday. No Democrats have made their intentions known.

Allison Crawford and Chad Lampe reported this story for WKMS.