James Comer (politician)

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James Comer
James Comer official congressional photo.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kentucky's 1st district
Assumed office
November 8, 2016
Preceded by Ed Whitfield
Agriculture Commissioner of Kentucky
In office
January 2, 2012 – January 4, 2016
Governor Steve Beshear
Matt Bevin
Preceded by Richie Farmer
Succeeded by Ryan Quarles
Member of the Kentucky House of Representatives
from the 53rd district
In office
January 2001 – January 2, 2012
Preceded by Billy Polston
Succeeded by Bart Rowland
Personal details
Born (1972-08-19) August 19, 1972 (age 44)
Carthage, Tennessee, U.S.
Political party Republican
Alma mater Western Kentucky University
Website House website

James R. Comer Jr.[1] /ˈkmər/ (born August 19, 1972) is an American politician from the Commonwealth of Kentucky who currently represents the state's 1st congressional district in the United States House of Representatives. He previously served as the Agriculture Commissioner of Kentucky from 2012 to 2016 and in the Kentucky House of Representatives from 2000 to 2012.

Comer sought the Republican nomination for Governor of Kentucky in the 2015 election. After losing, he successfully sought the Republican nomination for Kentucky's 1st congressional district to succeed fellow Republican Ed Whitfield. On November 8, 2016, Comer won both a full term to the seat for the next Congress and also a special election which allowed him to serve the remainder of Whitfield's term.

Early life and education[edit]

Comer is a native of Tompkinsville, Kentucky. He received a bachelor's degree in agriculture from Western Kentucky University. In college, he served as President of the Kentucky Future Farmers of America. After college, he started a 2,300 acres (950 ha) farm with his family. He also served as a director of a local bank for twelve years.

Early political career[edit]

He served as President of the Monroe County Chamber of Commerce from 1999 until his 2000 election to the Kentucky House of Representatives at the age of 27. In his first election in 2000, the incumbent, Comer's former business partner, Billy Polston, was too ill to seek re-election. Comer ran against and defeated Polston's wife, Donnie Polson. Comer did not face another opponent until he ran for Commissioner of Agriculture in 2011.

Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture[edit]

Comer speaking to members of the Kentucky National Guard in 2013

In 2011, Comer ran for the position of Agriculture Commissioner; the incumbent, Richie Farmer, was term limited. In the election, Comer was the only Republican to win election to a statewide executive office. Comer had the highest percentage of the vote of any candidate on the ballot. He raised $606,766 while his opponent raised $204,287.[2] He took office on January 2012 and was eligible for re-election in 2015. One of his first actions in office was teaming up with Democratic Auditor Adam Edelen to investigate his Republican predecessor's ethical issues while in office.

Shortly after taking office, Comer labeled the legalization of industrialized hemp as his top priority.[3][4]

2015 gubernatorial election[edit]

Comer in 2014

On August 2, 2014, during the annual Fancy Farm picnic, Comer announced he would seek the Republican nomination for Governor of Kentucky in the 2015 election.[5] His running mate is State Senator Christian McDaniel.[6] Comer was 83 votes behind businessman Matt Bevin in the May 19, 2015 primary election. The Associated Press, referring to the race a "virtual tie", did not call the race in favor of either candidate. In addition, Comer had refused to concede and stated that he would ask for a recanvass.[7] The request for recanvass was filed with the Kentucky Secretary of State's office on May 20, 2015 with Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes ordering the recanvass to occur at 9:00 a.m. local time on Thursday, May 28, 2015.[8][9] Upon completion of the recanvass, Grimes announced that Bevin remained 83 votes ahead of Comer. Grimes also stated that should Comer want a full recount, it would require a court order from the Franklin Circuit Court.[10] On May 29, Comer announced he would not request a recount and conceded the nomination to Bevin.[11]

Personal life[edit]

Comer being sworn in by Speaker Paul Ryan

Comer is married to Tamara Jo "TJ" Comer and has three children, one boy and two girls. He is a Member of First Baptist Church of Tompkinsville, but has attended Forks of the Elkhorn Baptist Church since his election to the office of Agriculture Commissioner.[1][12] On May 5, 2015, he was accused of physical and mental abuse by Marilyn Thomas, a woman he dated while attending Western Kentucky University.[13]


  1. ^ a b "James Comer, Jr.'s Biography". Votesmart.org. Retrieved May 2, 2015. 
  2. ^ Kentucky Registry of Election Finance
  3. ^ "Lexington, KY local and state news by the Lexington Herald-Leader". Kentucky.com. Retrieved May 2, 2015. 
  4. ^ Bastian, Jonathan (February 6, 2014). "Up Front TV: Kentucky Ag Commissioner James Comer on Hemp, GOP's Future, Felon Voting Rights - 89.3 WFPL". Wfpl.org. Retrieved May 2, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Ag. Commissioner James Comer announces run for governor in 2015". wdrb.com. August 2, 2014. Retrieved August 3, 2014. 
  6. ^ "James Comer Introduces Running Mate Chris McDaniel In Kentucky Gubernatorial Campaign Kick-Off". wkms.org. September 9, 2014. Retrieved September 10, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Officials say Bevin, Comer race too close to call". Wkyt.com. Retrieved 2016-11-20. 
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ "Secretary Grimes Receives Recanvass Request from James Comer and Chris McDaniel". Kentucky.gov. Retrieved 2016-11-20. 
  10. ^ "Review shows Bevin holding 83-vote lead in Kentucky GOP primary". Wkyt.com. Retrieved 2016-11-20. 
  11. ^ "Comer concedes, Bevin to face Conway in race for governor". Wkyt.com. Retrieved 2016-11-20. 
  12. ^ "Comer Tweets about events and services at "Forks of the Elkhorn [Southern] Baptist Church" with relative Frequency". Twitter.com. Retrieved May 2, 2015. 
  13. ^ Gerth, Joseph (May 5, 2015). "College girlfriend says James Comer abused her". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved November 16, 2016. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Richie Farmer
Agriculture Commissioner of Kentucky
Succeeded by
Ryan Quarles
Preceded by
Ed Whitfield
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kentucky's 1st congressional district

November 8, 2016 – present
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Warren Davidson
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Dwight Evans