Farmer campaign: WKU email endorsing Comer violates Kentucky law

Natalie Hayden

An email sent to students and faculty of WKU’s Agriculture department encouraging them to support a political candidate is causing major concern.

The email, which was sent out Monday afternoon by Office Associate Lorna Inglis on behalf of Gordon Jones, encouraged students and faculty to support Republican James Comer, a WKU alumnus, in the race for Commissioner of Agriculture.

“Please go to the polls tomorrow and vote for Jamie Comer,” said the email written by Jones, a transitional retiree in the agriculture department. “Also, please ask your friends and family to support Jamie as well.”

The email violates the Kentucky Revised Statutes, which states that a public employee cannot campaign for a political candidate.

Comer is running against Democrat Bob Farmer in the race.

“You cannot send out an email on a public university account endorsing a candidate,” said Brian Wright, a member of Bob Farmer’s campaign team. “I can say that without a doubt.”

Farmer’s campaign manager, Matt Wyatt, said that this is the second time WKU has done something that disturbs him.

Wyatt said he was contacted by a WBKO reporter who asked why Farmer had not been at a forum held at WKU, when Farmer had not been invited in the first place.

“Comer was at a press conference saying Farmer didn’t care about agriculture because he didn’t show up, but he was not invited,” Wyatt said.

When reached for comment, Jones said he was not available at this time due to a meeting. Deborah Wilkins, WKU chief of staff and general counsel, and Robbin Taylor, vice president for Public Affairs, were not immediately available for comment for this story.

Wyatt said the email is “extremely disturbing and outrageous.”

“A public university should not be used by a campaign,” he said. “There need to be answers and I will seek answers whether or not we win or lose this race.”