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Former Ky Senate President Says Richie Farmer Affiliation Won't Hurt Comer's Gubernatorial Chances

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Will the enduring popularity of former UK basketball star and Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer affect the gubernatorial aspirations of Farmer’s successor, James Comer?

The man who ran for governor on a slate with Farmer says he doesn’t think that the gubernatorial campaign of Farmer’s successor will be affected by backlash over Farmer’s corruption investigation and conviction. 

Former Republican state Senate President David Williams unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2011 with Farmer as his running mate, losing handily to incumbent Democrat Steve Beshear and his running mate, Jerry Abramson.

Williams, now a Circuit Court Judge, made a show of support at the Comer campaign’s kick-off event Tuesday in Tompkinsville.

“Jamie Comer did what anyone does when they come to office, and that’s do an audit," said Williams. "So he did an audit, or had an audit done, he didn’t even do the audit himself, it was an independent audit. Richie Farmer is, you know, I pray for Richie Farmer and his family.”

Shortly after Comer succeeded Farmer, an independent audit uncovered corruption by Farmer. The evidence was damning, and the former UK shooting guard was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison this January for abusing his office to benefit himself and members of his family.

And as the Associated Press has noted, Comer has campaigned on fixing the corruption in his office caused by Farmer, who remains popular in his native Eastern Kentucky. Comer requested an audit of Farmer’s tenure shortly after taking office.

But Williams thinks that Comer won’t be blamed, and was just doing his job by requesting an audit.

“Nobody can blame anything on James Comer that happened during the Richie Farmer administration," said Williams. "Commissioner Comer’s done a tremendous job.”

Williams, who earned the nickname, the “Bully from Burkesville,” during his tenure as Senate President, also had another piece of uncharacteristically  self-deprecating advice for the gubernatorial hopeful.

“You have to get the most votes… evidently I wasn’t an expert in that. [laughs]

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