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Two Republicans Launch Campaigns After Whitfield Retirement

Whitfield will leave the House at the end of his term. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture James Comer on Wednesday announced his candidacy for Congress in the state’s 1st District – a day after U.S. Rep. Edward Whitfield said he would not seek a 12th term.  

Comer’s announcement came several hours after Michael Pape , Whitfield’s district director, said he, too, would seek the Republican nomination for his boss’ seat. Kentucky Republican operatives said Wednesday that Comer, who lost the May gubernatorial primary to Matt Bevin by only 83 votes – a total that was buoyed by his performance in the 1st District – would likely be the initial frontrunner.  

Kentucky's Whitfield Won't Seek 12th Term in Congress

Whitfield will leave the House at the end of his term. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Update 3:45 p.m. | Rep. Edward Whitfield, R-Ky., under a cloud of an ethics investigation, announced Tuesday he will not seek a 12th term in Congress.  

“Representing the people of the 1st District for 21 years has been an honor,” Whitfield said in a statement. “I will cherish forever the countless opportunities to work with them to nurture and strengthen the 35 counties comprising Kentucky’s First District.” With Whitfield on his way out, Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer – who lost the governor’s primary earlier this year to Matt Bevin by 83 votes, but pulled wide margins in the district – could launch a campaign for the seat, four Republicans with knowledge of the district said Tuesday.