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Farmer Hired Girlfriend for State Job

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer hired his girlfriend to a $5,000 a month state job shortly before this year’s elections.

Farmer has reached his term limit in his current office. He was running for Lieutenant Governor on the Republic ticket with state Senate President David Williams. But eight days before the election, Farmer hired his girlfriend Stephanie Sandmann as a “special assistant” to the agriculture department.

Williams confirmed to the Courier-Journal that Sandmann is Farmer’s girlfriend, but said he didn’t know she was on the state payroll.

Farmer is going through a divorce.

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Local News Next Louisville Politics

UPDATE: Comer, Farmer Wins Primaries For Ag Commissioner

The Republican nominee for Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner will be state lawmaker James Comer, who defeated Shelby County Judge-Executive Rob Rothenburger in the GOP primary.

Bob Farmer of Louisville led a five-person field in winning the Democratic nomination for the seat, now held by Republican Richie Farmer. Richie Farmer is in his second and final term and is a candidate for Lt. Governor.

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Williams, Farmer File Papers For Governor’s Race

The Williams-Farmer slate has officially entered the Kentucky governor’s race.

With their wives and children looking on, Senate President David Williams (right) and Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer (below left) signed the papers and paid the fees that make their gubernatorial campaign official. The two are vying for the Republican nomination, and Williams says they’re the face of change.

“The people of the Commonwealth of Kentucky know that things aren’t OK in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and they want people that have a bold agenda to come forward and change the atmosphere in this state to give everybody an opportunity to share in the prosperity that is the promise of our state and our nation,” he said.   

Gov. Steve Beshear and his running mate, former Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson, qualified two weeks ago to seek the Democratic nomination. The filing deadline is next Tuesday.

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Williams-Farmer Ticket Accused Of Violating Election Finance Law

The David Williams-Richie Farmer gubernatorial slate, announced two weeks ago, is already being accused of violating Kentucky campaign finance laws.

Former Jefferson County Teacher’s Association Director Steve Neal believes the Williams-Farmer slate spent money on their campaign before filing a letter of intent with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance. Neal says Sen. Williams released the results of an internal statewide poll on July 23rd, but a letter of intent wasn’t filed until September 1st, the day the campaign went public.

“They put up a website,” he says. “They did two or three things that I tried to cite as clear examples of things that they would have had to expend money before they filed their letter.”

Neal says Sen. Williams is “breaking the very laws he writes,” and wants the registry to investigate. Williams-Farmer campaign manager Scott Jennings says the complaint is without merit and Neal just has an ax to grind because the Kentucky Senate last year refused to consider Neal’s appointment to the state school board.

“You might remember that in 2009, Steve Beshear tried to skirt Kentucky law by appointing Steve Neal to the state board of education, even though he was an employee of the Jefferson County teacher’s union,” says Jennings. “The state Senate fortunately saved Mr. Beshear from himself by refusing to confirm Neal and Hell hath no fury, apparently, like a political crony scorned.”