|Ranking Member of the House Oversight Committee|
June 29, 2020
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Kentucky's 1st district
November 8, 2016
|Agriculture Commissioner of Kentucky|
January 2, 2012 - January 4, 2016
|Member of the Kentucky House of Representatives|
from the 53rd district
January 2001 - January 2, 2012
James Richardson Comer Jr.
August 19, 1972
Carthage, Tennessee, U.S.
Tamara Jo Comer
|Education||Western Kentucky University (BS)|
James Richardson Comer Jr. (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 unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for Governor of Kentucky in the 2015 election. A year later, 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.
Comer is a native of Carthage, Tennessee. He received a bachelor's degree in agriculture from Western Kentucky University in 1993. In college, he served as President of the Kentucky Future Farmers of America. After college, he started James Comer, Jr. Farms, a 2,300 acres (950 ha) farm with his family, and he is also co-owner of Comer Land & Cattle Co. He also served as a director of the South Central Bank for twelve years. He served as President of the Monroe County Chamber of Commerce from 1999 to 2000.
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, and worked with a team of Democratic officials and under a Democratic Governor. Comer had the highest percentage of the vote of any candidate on the ballot. He raised $606,766 while his opponent raised $204,287. 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.
That year Comer became the chairman of the Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission, and shortly after taking office, Comer labeled the legalization of industrialized hemp as his top priority, and was "instrumental in getting the hemp industry up and running," including the founding of several pilot programs 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. Between 2014 and 2015 the hemp crops of Kentucky grew from 33 to 1700 acres. Comer also advocated for national hemp deregulation in Washington DC.
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. His running mate was State Senator Christian McDaniel. 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. 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. 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. On May 29, Comer announced he would not request a recount and conceded the nomination to Bevin.
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. In the end he won the primary with 60.6% of the vote. Comer was elected to the United States House of Representatives in Kentucky's District 1 with 72.6% of the vote, 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.
During the first few months of his tenure, Comer held several town hall meetings, where he discussed the Congress's early platform. He also partnered with Murray State University to form the Congressman James Comer Congressional Agriculture Fellowship program, and has advocated for the reform of agricultural legislation. He has also criticized the regulatory policies of Barack Obama, and supported the early domestic policies and actions of Donald Trump. Comer is a social conservative on "same-sex marriage and abortion". In terms of foreign policy, Comer believes that the trade embargo on Cuba should be lifted.
In December 2017, Comer voted in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. 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."
Comer has an original cosponsor of the Hemp Farming Act, which legalizes hemp nationwide and removes federal regulations on the crop. The bill was later included in the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 and signed into law by President Trump on December 20, 2018.  Comer was a member of the conference committee which negotiated the final version of the legislation 
At the outset of the COVID-19 outbreak, Comer teamed up with Democratic Rep. Suzanne Bonamici of Oregon to introduce legislation which would protect access to school lunches for school districts throughout the country who had to close down in light of the coronavirus.  The COVID-19 Child Nutrition Response Act allows the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to waive requirements for children to gather at schools in order for school officials and food service personnel to distribute reimbursable, nutritious meals. It also provides local school officials with discretion over substitutions for meal components if supply or procurement is disrupted.  When introducing the bill, Comer noted that "this bill is a critical step toward ensuring that our students maintain access to the school meals they rely on for their health and well-being."  After clearing both the House and Senate, President Trump signed the legislation into law on March 18.
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." 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.
|Republican||James R. Comer||3,969||81.33|
|Republican||Donnie Mayfield Polston||911||18.67|
|Republican||James R. Comer||11,051||100.0|
|Republican||James R. Comer (incumbent)||9,361||100.0|
|Republican||James R. Comer (incumbent)||12,247||100.0|
|Republican||James R. Comer (incumbent)||10,876||100.0|
|Republican||James R. Comer (incumbent)||12,482||100.0|
|Republican||James R. Comer (incumbent)||12,040||100.0|
|Republican||James R. Comer||86,316||66.67|
|Republican||James R. Comer||519,183||63.79|
|Democratic||Robert "Bob" Farmer||294,663||36.21|
|Republican||Matt Bevin (Jenean Hampton)||70,480||32.90|
|Republican||James R. Comer (Chris McDaniel)||70,397||32.87|
|Republican||Hal Heiner (K.C. Crosbie)||57,951||27.06|
|Republican||Will T. Scott (Rodney Coffey)||15,365||7.17|
|Republican||James R. Comer||24,342||60.59|
|Republican||Miles A. Caughey Jr.||896||2.23|
|Republican||James R. Comer||209,810||72.19|
|Democratic||Samuel L. Gaskins||80,813||27.81|
|Republican||James R. Comer||216,959||72.56|
|Democratic||Samuel L. Gaskins||81,710||27.33|
|Write-in votes||Terry McIntosh||332||0.11|
|Republican||James R. Comer (incumbent)||172,167||68.59|
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.
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. According to Atlantic Magazine, Comer has stated that he believes the accusation was a political stunt in order to hinder his gubernatorial campaign.
| Agriculture Commissioner of Kentucky
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kentucky's 1st congressional district
| Ranking Member of the House Oversight Committee
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
| United States Representatives by seniority