Gloves are already off in GOP race for governor


by WHAS11

Posted on July 4, 2014 at 4:44 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Only one Republican is officially in next years' primary for Kentucky governor, but the gloves are already off in the GOP race.

It's the Agriculture Commissioner, James Comer, versus the Louisville real estate developer, Hal Heiner.

The Republican gubernatorial primary is shaping up to be a more confrontational version of city mouse and country mouse.

The country mouse in our political story, Comer, came to the city preaching values learned from farming.

“It’s teaching the next generation of leaders how to produce food,” Comer said.

Louisville real estate developer and former metro councilman, Hal Heiner, is taking his gubernatorial campaign across the commonwealth.

“We've been traveling almost six days a week, 13 hours a day just meeting Kentuckians,” Heiner said.

Heiner is comfortable in the country. He and his wife live on a corn and soybean farm in far eastern Jefferson County where he shot his first campaign ad for governor.

But in the first attacks of the 2015 race, Comer says Heiner doesn't know Kentucky like he does.

“How do you know that there is a demand for your candidacy for governor when you go into so many counties for the first time in your adult life?” Comer said.

Comer said he's more in line with the average Kentuckian than Heiner.

“My business experience has led me to the forgotten communities across the state, that's where all the agriculture is in the state,” Comer said. “Most of his business interests have been centered around Louisville and some of the counties along the interstate corridor.”

Heiner was told of Comer's comments. His campaign manager fired back saying: "Jamie Comer represents the politics of old.  His belief that in order to run for governor, one must first spend their life building a political network is exactly what's wrong with Frankfort."

Joe Burgan says Heiner's story of hard work and success is already finding an audience on the campaign trail.

"Hal's straight talk, commonsense answers will connect with Kentuckians more successfully than the canned answers of a professional politician," Burgan said.

“I think that they want a leader that they know, thinks like they do, understands the challenges and concerns that they have and will be responsive to their needs,” Comer said.

“I think people are engaging, who haven't engaged before, and really are looking for candidates that have a vision that matches with their own,” Heiner said.

The primary is still ten months away and the general election is sixteen months away.

A long journey is still ahead on the campaign trail.