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James Comer (politician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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 byEd Whitfield
Agriculture Commissioner of Kentucky
In office
January 2, 2012 – January 4, 2016
GovernorSteve Beshear
Matt Bevin
Preceded byRichie Farmer
Succeeded byRyan Quarles
Member of the Kentucky House of Representatives
from the 53rd district
In office
January 2001 – January 2, 2012
Preceded byBilly Polston
Succeeded byBart Rowland
Personal details
James Richardson Comer Jr.

(1972-08-19) August 19, 1972 (age 47)
Carthage, Tennessee, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Tamara Jo Comer (m. 2003)
EducationWestern Kentucky University (BS)
WebsiteHouse website

James Richardson 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

Comer is a native of Carthage, Tennessee.[2] He received a bachelor's degree in agriculture from Western Kentucky University in 1993.[3] In college, he served as President of the Kentucky Future Farmers of America. After college, he started James Comer, Jr. Farms,[4] a 2,300 acres (950 ha) farm with his family,[5] and he is also co-owner of Comer Land & Cattle Co.[6] He also served as a director of the South Central Bank for twelve years.[3] He served as President of the Monroe County Chamber of Commerce from 1999 to 2000.[3]

Kentucky House of Representatives

In 2000 Comer was elected to the Kentucky House of Representatives at the age of 27.[7]

Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture

Comer speaking to members of the Kentucky National Guard in 2013
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.[8] In the election, Comer was the only Republican to win election to a statewide executive office,[9] and worked with a team of Democratic officials and under a Democratic Governor.[10] Comer had the highest percentage of the vote of any candidate on the ballot. He raised $606,766 while his opponent raised $204,287.[11] He took office on January 2012 and 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.[12]

That year Comer became the chairman of the Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission,[13] and shortly after taking office, Comer labeled the legalization of industrialized hemp as his top priority,[14][15] and was "instrumental in getting the hemp industry up and running,"[16] including the founding of several pilot programs[17] in an effort to restart the industrial hemp industry of Kentucky. His efforts also included filing suit against the DEA, which resulted in the DEA allowing hemp seeds to be delivered to farmers in Kentucky for the first new crops.[18] Between 2014 and 2015 the hemp crops of Kentucky grew from 33 to 1700 acres.[19] Comer also advocated for national hemp deregulation in Washington DC.[20]

Comer also founded the Kentucky Proud Farm to Campus program,[21] and created a mobile science centers program for primary and secondary school students to learn about agricultural sciences.[22]

2015 gubernatorial election

Comer in 2014
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.[23] His running mate was State Senator Christian McDaniel.[24] 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.[25] 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.[26][27] Upon completion of the recanvass, Grimes announced that Bevin remained 83 votes ahead of Comer.[28] Grimes also stated that should Comer want a full recount, it would require a court order from the Franklin Circuit Court.[29] On May 29, Comer announced he would not request a recount and conceded the nomination to Bevin.[30]

United States House of Representatives

2016 election

In 2016 Comer entered the Republican primary election for the first congressional district of Kentucky against two other competitors. Prior to the primary, he was endorsed by both the National Rifle Association and the US Chamber of Commerce.[31] In the end he won the primary with 60.6% of the vote.[28] Comer was elected to the United States House of Representatives in Kentucky's District 1 with 72.6% of the vote,[16] defeating his Democratic opponent Samuel L. Gaskins. Voters voted separately both for who would fill the unexpired term of predecessor Ed Whitfield from the date of the election forward, as well as who would fill the seat for the upcoming 2017-19 term, and Comer won both elections.[32]

Comer being sworn in by Speaker Paul Ryan
Comer being sworn in by Speaker Paul Ryan


During the first few months of his tenure, Comer held several town hall meetings, where he discussed the Congress's early platform.[33] He also partnered with Murray State University to form the Congressman James Comer Congressional Agriculture Fellowship program,[34] and has advocated for the reform of agricultural legislation.[35] He has also criticized the regulatory policies of Barack Obama,[36] and supported the early domestic policies and actions of Donald Trump. Comer is a social conservative on "same-sex marriage and abortion".[37] In terms of foreign policy, Comer believes that the trade embargo on Cuba should be lifted.[38]

In December 2017, Comer voted in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.[39] After the bill's passing, Comer stated: "I am proud to support this critical part of President Trump's pro-growth agenda that will fulfill this promise to the American people who have struggled under the weight of Washington bureaucrats for far too long."[40]

Committee assignments

Political positions

Domestic issues

Health care

Comer supports the repeal of the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare").[41]

Economic issues

In 2016, Comer called the Obama administration's final budget a "disaster in the making." He believes that federal spending must become "under control" to not create "mountains of debt."[41] In 2017, he voted for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act which is anticipated to add an estimated $1.49 trillion to the national debt.[42]

International issues


Comer opposes amnesty and sanctuary cities. He supports Executive Order 13767, the building a wall along the Mexico-US border.[41]

Social issues


Comer is pro-life.[41]


Comer supports declassifying marijuana as a Schedule 1 narcotic. He supports growing hemp. He says there is "simply not enough support for medical marijuana legalization across the board."[43]

LGBT rights

Comer opposes same-sex marriage.[41] He also opposes banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and voted against the Equality Act in 2019.[44][45]

Personal life

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][46]

On May 5, 2015, he was accused of physical and mental abuse by Marilyn Thomas, a woman he dated while attending Western Kentucky University in 1993.[47] According to Atlantic Magazine, Comer has stated that he believes the accusation was a political stunt in order to hinder his gubernatorial campaign.[28]


  1. ^ a b "James Comer, Jr.'s Biography". Retrieved May 2, 2015.
  2. ^ "Biographical Directory of the United States Congress".
  3. ^ a b c Barton, Ryland. "James Comer's Quest To 'Pass A Bold Agenda' Gets Bumpy".
  4. ^ "KY Commissioner of Agriculture James Comer to Keynote Farm  Family Night at MCTC".
  5. ^ "Comer combines experience in bid".
  6. ^ "Comer commemorates May beef month in Kentucky". May 10, 2013.
  7. ^ "Comer confident despite campaign 'turbulence'".
  8. ^ "Comer and Bob Farmer will face off for agriculture commissioner".
  9. ^ "2011 – The Year In Review".
  10. ^ "Ag Commissioner James Comer ending first year in office as it began – full steam ahead -".
  11. ^ Kentucky Registry of Election Finance
  12. ^ "Bluegrass Beacon: Edelen takes the farm for government transparency". May 4, 2012.
  13. ^ "America's hemp epicenter: Kentucky ag commissioner excites enthusiasts". October 14, 2015.
  14. ^ "Lexington, KY local and state news by the Lexington Herald-Leader". Retrieved May 2, 2015.
  15. ^ Bastian, Jonathan (February 6, 2014). "Up Front TV: Kentucky Ag Commissioner James Comer on Hemp, GOP's Future, Felon Voting Rights - 89.3 WFPL". Retrieved May 2, 2015.
  16. ^ a b Markgraf, Matt. "Congressman James Comer Talks President Trump, Trade Deals, Regulations, Hemp".
  17. ^ "Comer, growers, industry leaders announce array of hemp projects".
  18. ^ "Kentucky CBD: Back to the Future with Industrial Hemp". May 12, 2015.
  19. ^ "Kentucky's 2015 Hemp Crop to Exceed 1,700 Acres; Up from 33 Acres in 2014". May 8, 2015.
  20. ^ Colston, Kenny (April 23, 2013). "Ag Commissioner James Comer Heading to Washington to Talk Hemp - 89.3 WFPL News Louisville".
  21. ^, CHARLES A. MASON. "Gubernatorial hopeful Comer speaks about farm program".
  22. ^ "Comer launches new mobile science units to teach Kentucky kids about agriculture".
  23. ^ "Ag. Commissioner James Comer announces run for governor in 2015". August 2, 2014. Retrieved August 3, 2014.
  24. ^ "James Comer Introduces Running Mate Chris McDaniel In Kentucky Gubernatorial Campaign Kick-Off". September 9, 2014. Retrieved September 10, 2014.
  25. ^ "Officials say Bevin, Comer race too close to call". Retrieved November 20, 2016.
  26. ^ [1]
  27. ^ "Secretary Grimes Receives Recanvass Request from James Comer and Chris McDaniel". Retrieved November 20, 2016.
  28. ^ a b c Hagen, Lisa. "After Near-Miss in Kentucky Governor's Race, James Comer Tries a Congressional Comeback".
  29. ^ "Review shows Bevin holding 83-vote lead in Kentucky GOP primary". Retrieved November 20, 2016.
  30. ^ "Comer concedes, Bevin to face Conway in race for governor". Retrieved November 20, 2016.
  31. ^ Null, John. "[AUDIO] James Comer Talks Bid for 1st District Congressional Seat Ahead of May 17 Primary".
  32. ^ "James Comer Elected to Fill Open Seat in Kentucky's 1st District". Roll Call. November 9, 2016.
  33. ^ Director, Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News. "Comer Town Hall Set in Heart of Farmland USA".
  34. ^ "Congressman James Comer and Murray State University Hutson School of Agriculture partner for agriculture fellowship – The Blue & Gold".
  35. ^ Markgraf, Matt. "Congressman Comer Talks Farm Bill, Ag Industry, Healthcare in Hopkinsville".
  36. ^
  37. ^ Markgraf, Matt. ""That Was Not an Act of War" Comer Talks Syrian Strike and More with Murray Business Leaders".
  38. ^ Markgraf, Matt. "Rep. Comer: Kentucky Ag Industry Would Benefit from Lifting Embargo on Cuba".
  39. ^ Almukhtar, Sarah (December 19, 2017). "How Each House Member Voted on the Tax Bill". The New York Times. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  40. ^ "Congressman Comer votes for final version of Tax Cuts and Jobs Act | The Ohio County Monitor". Ohio County Monitor. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  41. ^ a b c d e "The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  42. ^ Bryan, Bob. "The giant Senate tax bill barely squeaked by a critical test". Business Insider. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  43. ^ Harvey, Laura. "Comer meets with residents". The Messenger. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  44. ^ Final Vote Results for Roll Call 217
  45. ^ "House Debate on the Equality Act". C-SPAN. May 17, 2019.
  46. ^ "Comer Tweets about events and services at "Forks of the Elkhorn [Southern] Baptist Church" with relative Frequency". Retrieved May 2, 2015.
  47. ^ Gerth, Joseph (May 5, 2015). "College girlfriend says James Comer abused her". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved November 16, 2016.

External links

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

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Warren Davidson
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Dwight Evans
This page was last edited on 26 August 2019, at 04:05
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