Republican lieutenant governor candidate Richie Farmer wants the media to back off and news stories about his divorce to stop because it is a private matter and hurting his children.
Farmer, who is the outgoing agriculture commissioner, vented his frustration at the 48th annual Kentucky Farm Bureau country ham breakfast.
In April, 37-year-old Rebecca Farmer filed for divorce from her husband, telling a judge their 13-year marriage was “irretrievably broken and cannot be reconciled.”
She is also seeking custody of their three children.
Since then, several news articles have appeared about the ongoing proceedings involving the former University of Kentucky basketball star, who is running on the GOP ticket with state Senate President David Williams this November.
Farmer says the media has put an unusual amount of attention on his personal life at the expense of the race and that his children are feeling the effects.
“My personal life really has nothing to do with any of this,” says Farmer. “And I have three boys and they don’t deserve any of that. Anytime that you’re going through a divorce that’s hard enough on kids. But for them to have to play it and see it in the paper and see it on the TV and have kids talk about it at school, it’s very, very difficult.”
In a sworn affidavit, Farmer’s wife said he has limited her access to their finances and that the only money she has access to comes from her net monthly income of less than $1,100. She is asking for an unspecified amount in child support and household expenses.
Farmer says he repeatedly asks reporters to respect his privacy to no avail and wants to put attention back to the issues of the campaign in its final months.
“It seems that that doesn’t do the trick and I can’t make them stop I guess,” he says. “It would be a nice thing if they would understand though that there are kids involved in a personal situation.”
A judge set the divorce trial for November 22 despite objections from Rebecca Farmer’s attorney for an earlier hearing date.
Farmer and Williams are running against the Democratic slate Governor Steve Behsear and former Mayor Jerry Abramson, and independent candidate Gatewood Galbraith, who is running with political consultant Dea Riley.