James Comer Takes 1st District Republican Nomination
Former state agriculture commissioner James Comer has emerged as the Republican party’s nominee for Kentucky’s 1st Congressional District - a seat held by retiring Congressman Ed Whitfield for more than 20 years.
The Monroe County Republican faced a tough primary challenge from longtime Whitfield field director Mike Pape and Hickman County Attorney Jason Batts, but the Associated Press called the race for Comer less than an hour after polls closed. Christian County farmer Miles Caughey Jr. finished a distant fourth.
With 60.6 percent of the vote, Comer said he was excited about the margin of victory.
“It was an overwhelming victory," Comer said. "The people spoke. We campaigned very hard. I ran a positive campaign. I’m proud of the campaign that I ran. I didn’t talk about my opponents, I talked about issues.”
Pape finished second with 23.3 percent, while 13.9 percent of Republican voters chose Batts. Caughey won 2.2 percent.
Comer's win comes almost a year to the day after he lost the GOP's gubernatorial nomination to Matt Bevin by only 83 votes.
Comer will face Democrat Sam Gaskins in November’s general election. Gaskins, an Army veteran from Hopkinsville, didn't have a primary opponent. According to Federal Election Commission filings, Comer has raised more than $600,000 in this race, plus a $100,000 candidate loan, for a total of $701,401. Gaskins has netted less than 1 percent of that amount. Gaskins said he plans to overcome that deficit by communicating directly with blue collar workers.
"I talk to workers every day," Gaskins said. "I have no problem speaking with anybody and I'm more than accessible. Anybody can call me any time of day, send me an email, send me a Facebook message, and they'll get an answer from me."
The general election is Tuesday, November 8.