The Kentucky Farm Bureau released the results of a survey on Tuesday that was sent to measure the views of candidates vying for agriculture commissioner, but one has failed to respond on time and has asked for an extension.
The survey includes dozens of questions about department budget cuts, animal regulations and crop inspections, among other things. It was given to candidates with a deadline of October 25, which Republican James Comer met and Democrat Bob Farmer did not.
Kentucky Farm Bureau Director of Public Affairs Jeff Harper says the survey is an important way for Kentucky farmers to look over the candidate’s positions and could have an impact on the election.
“It is important for the candidates to fill out the survey so our membership can determine or see their views on pertinent issues that affect our membership’s livelihood. So, we think it is important, we go through the time craft the questions that we believe as a farm organization is important to the future of Kentucky agriculture,” he says. “If folks go online and see one candidate’s response and others not and then do not go back, it may or may not have an impact on their decision on November 8.”
Harper says the group granted Farmer an extension that he asked for because of a bus tour with Governor Steve Beshear and other Democratic candidates.
Farmer campaign spokesman Brian Wright says the Louisville native will turn in the survey before Thursday.
“The governor’s bus tour is a two week tour through the entire state. There are seven or eight stops every day, seven days a week. The bus tour will be ending on Thursday and Mr. Farmer has told me that the survey will be completed prior to the date that the farm bureau has asked for it to be in,” he says.
But Comer criticized Farmer for failing to finish the survey on time, saying it shows disrespect for the rural community and that the Democratic newcomer doesn’t know the issues and is a joke.
“He has no understanding of agriculture, no respect for the state’s largest agriculture industry. They gave him four weeks to fill out the survey. He can’t answer the questions. They’re too complicated,” he says. “So what he wanted to do is wait until he saw my answers and simply plagiarize my answers because he has no clue about the office that he’s seeking.”
The Farmer campaign declined to comment on Comer’s accusations, but says the survey is an important measurement of candidates’ positions.