Things with Comer may not be as they seem…

July 11, 2011
By

When I wrote about James Comer’s hilarious hire on Friday afternoon, I wrote it off as either one of two things:

#1: Comer thinks that he’s already won, and it doesn’t matter who he hires to do field.

#2: Comer has gone a bit mad in the head.

But additional quotes in the update to the story, plus quotes in Ronnie Ellis’ story lead me to believe that there might be a third interpretation that is equally plausible:

#3: Comer made this hire with David Williams’ and RPK’s direct blessing (if it wasn’t their idea to begin with) in order to buy out and shut up Mica and tea party criticism of Williams so that they don’t hurt Williams’ already not-great chances of winning this November.

It’s easy to look at quotes like these and think it is spin, but there may be a larger truth here:

Comer said he talked to U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, Republican gubernatorial nominee David Williams and state GOP Chairman Steve Robertson about hiring Sims.


“None advised me not to get her,” he said. “They told me it was my decision.”

Robertson said the decision was Comer’s. “I know Mica has much enthusiasm for Jamie to win this race,” he said.

And:

Comer said he’d advised Williams, U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell and RPK Chairman Steve Robertson in advance he planned to hire Sims.

“Everyone is excited,” Comer said. “They are all supporting my campaign and they trust my political judgment.”

Scott Jennings, a spokesman for Williams’ campaign, confirmed Comer and Williams spoke earlier in the week and said Williams supports Comer’s campaign and thinks “he’ll make a great Agricultural Commissioner.”

Holly Harris VonLuehrte, an in-house counsel for RPK, also confirmed Robertson and Comer spoke about Sims’ hiring in advance. She said the two men are “close and meet and speak constantly. Steve is supportive of all (of Comer’s) campaign hires.

And here’s the kicker:

Sims said she won’t be involved in any other campaign, including the governor’s race, because her goal is to help Comer attract voters from both major political parties and the Tea Party. She said she doesn’t want to alienate any of them by speaking out about another race. She said she will coordinate grassroots and volunteer efforts across the state for Comer.

Bingo.

If I was a betting man, I’d say this was the grand bargain. Williams shuts up the criticism of him from the Moffett/tea party crowd that trounced him in the Golden Triangle this May, and Mica Sims gets a paycheck. Meanwhile, Comer will have another competent or at least remotely qualified staffer who will actually run his field, or it will be run out of the RPK. Everybody wins (except Williams most likely, just not as bad).

Regardless of whether interpretation #3 is correct, I would say that James Comer, much like Andy Barr last year, has some rather important questions to answer.

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