James Comer denies accusation of abuse, says campaign will continue

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Kentucky Press News Service/The Lexington Herald-Leader

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer denied accusations Tuesday that he physically assaulted a college girlfriend, accusing the newspaper that printed them of "Rolling Stone-style" journalism and pledging that his campaign for governor will go on.

The allegations, reported Monday night in The Courier-Journal, were made by Marilyn Thomas of New York City, who said in a letter to the Louisville newspaper that Comer was physically and mentally abusive to her when they dated while students at Western Kentucky University in the early 1990s.

The accusations come two weeks before Republican voters choose among Comer and three others in a hotly contested gubernatorial primary election.

"As a devoted husband and a proud father of a son and two daughters, the crime of domestic violence sickens me," Comer said. "The notion that I could commit such a horrific offense is simply beyond any semblance of reason."

Comer said The Courier-Journal's report was "filled with inconsistencies, implausible scenarios and flat-out lies." He said he is consulting with his legal team about pursuing action against the newspaper and other parties.

When the Herald-Leader asked Comer's wife, TJ, whether the commissioner had ever assaulted her or whether she believed the accusations, she responded: "Absolutely not."

"Jamie and I grew up together," she said. "We're from the same hometown, and if you know anything about small towns, I knew everything about Jamie Comer and I still do. And I married him almost 12 years ago, and I would do the same thing today."