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Democrat Sam Gaskins Withdrawing from 1st Dist. Congressional Race

Sam Gaskins for Congress, via Facebook

A west Kentucky Democrat looking for another chance at taking the 1st Congressional seat is withdrawing from this year’s race.

Retired Army and Marine Corps veteran and former tobacco farmer Sam Gaskins of Christian County said he’s dropping out due to health issues from his military service.

“Some things that happened to me in Iraq have finally caught up with me and it’s caused some health issues that I have to deal with. And it would be a discredit to the party and to the people of Kentucky if I was to continue on in my campaign and not be able to complete it," Gaskins said.

He said he is ‘sorry’ to step aside. He said he wants to give Democrats a chance to find someone else who will “stand up and fight" and offered to meet with whomever decides to run. He said his advice to Democrats is to focus on 'kitchen table' issues, including jobs and paychecks. He specifically took issue with the H.R.1180 "Working Families Flexibility Act." The bill authorizes employers to provide compensatory time off to employees in lieu of overtime pay. He took Congressman James Comer to task on on this at a town hall meeting in December.

The decision did not come lightly to Gaskins: “It truly bothers me and I feel like I’ve let them down. And I’m willing to continue helping in any way I can, here forward, for anybody that needs help. If they need somebody with a big mouth, it doesn’t get any bigger than mine at times. And I want to thank them and all the people I met for all the support I got. There are some truly amazing people in western Kentucky."

While he doesn't have other political plan at this time, he said he intends on being an advocate for two issues he feels strongly about. “Arc of Kentucky, which is an organization that helps people with disabilities, which everybody knows I have a son with Down syndrome. And everybody knows my stance on medical cannabis. I’ve never made that a secret," he said.

In 2016, Republican James Comer out-raised Gaskins financially and won the seat by a wide margin. Comer will run for reelection unopposed unless another Democrat comes forward.

The Kentucky Democratic Party did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Matt Markgraf joined the WKMS team as a student in January 2007. He's served in a variety of roles over the years: as News Director March 2016-September 2019 and previously as the New Media & Promotions Coordinator beginning in 2011. Prior to that, he was a graduate and undergraduate assistant. He is currently the host of the international music show Imported on Sunday nights at 10 p.m.
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