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Farmer easily retains post as ag commissioner

JPATTON1@HERALD-LEADER.COM
Richie Farmer spoke to supporters after he won re-election for agriculture commissioner at the Republican campaign headquarters at the Mariott Hotel on Newtown Pike.
Pablo Alcala | Staff
Richie Farmer spoke to supporters after he won re-election for agriculture commissioner at the Republican campaign headquarters at the Mariott Hotel on Newtown Pike.

Republican incumbent Richie Farmer held onto his seat as agriculture commissioner and pledged Tuesday night to serve out his term and stay a Republican.

Farmer, best known as a former University of Kentucky basketball player, handily defeated retired businessman David Lynn Williams of Glasgow, a perennial candidate in both parties.

At the Republican Party’s celebration at the Marriott in Lexington, an emotional Farmer thanked voters and his family after stumbling in his speech. “I can tell you it’s been a tough campaign,” Farmer said. “But obviously our message resignated (sic) with voters.”

Farmer also thanked Gov. Ernie Fletcher for maintaining funding for agriculture diversity programs. But he took care to reach out to others in state government, something he overlooked during his early days in office.

“I look forward to working with the General Assembly and all the new lawmakers,” Farmer said.

Afterward, Farmer addressed rumors that he plans to switch to the Democratic Party, saying he has no plans to leave the Republicans.

As for running for higher office in four years, a jubilant Farmer said, “I don’t look that far ahead. Let’s take care of tonight and we will see what happens later.”

Williams had won the Democratic primary in a surprising upset, and party officials swiftly distanced themselves from him.

Reached at his home Tuesday night, Williams said that he wants to take on both parties, calling Democratic Party chairman Jonathan Miller “a quitter.” Asked if he is bitter about the lack of support from the party, Williams said, “Hell, no.”