Joseph Gerth of the Louisville Courier-Journal has an article on Republican Congressman Jamie Comer, head of the House Government Oversight Committee, about old allegations of physical abuse that a former college girlfriend lobbed at Comer when he ran for Kentucky governor in 2015. To make a long story short, the reason why the abuse allegations surfaced is because Comer appears to have stolen emails about this very topic and leaked them to the media to sink the candidacy of a rival Republican, Hal Heiner. Instead, the leaked story of Comer’s abusive behavior forced Comer’s ex-girlfriend to provide information to the Louisville Courier-Journal just days before the primary vote. It got a lot of play in Louisville, and Comer lost the primary by 83 votes to Matt Bevin.
I know. It makes your head hurt. It’s a complex mess, but let’s go to Joseph Gerth (note: subscriber only, so I will be liberal with the quotes):
Nearly eight years after a former girlfriend accused him of hitting her when they dated in college, U.S. Rep. Jamie Comer has finally come clean about one part of the saga − telling the New York Times he was responsible for the leak that forced the story into the mainstream.
In other words, in what may have been one of the biggest, dumbest Machiavellian miscalculations in Kentucky political history, it was Comer himself who set in motion the slew of devastating stories during the last two weeks of the 2015 Republican primary campaign that likely cost him the governorship.
So what was going on during the Republican Primary in 2015? It appears that a blogger in Lexington had stumbled upon the rumor that Comer was physically and mentally abusive to a woman he dated in college. Joseph Gerth was able to track down the woman who was the source of the rumor, Marilyn Thomas, but she wanted nothing to do with giving any interviews or coming forward. In fact, she had left Kentucky years earlier to live in the den of inequity New York City. Therefore, we had a rumor making the rounds about a former girlfriend and Comer’s abuse, but no corroboration or names.
Turns out that Comer was not the least bit happy about the Lexington blogger, and Comer suspected that the true source of the rumors around Frankfort, the state capitol, was a political opponent named Hal Heiner. Comer and Heiner were both running in the Republican primary for governor in 2015. There was another Republican running in the primary, a Trump mini-me by the name of Matt Bevin.
Anyway, Comer wasn’t going to tolerate this political skullduggery:
Then a few days before the Kentucky Derby, the Lexington Herald-Leader published a story based on emails provided to a reporter that showed a conversation between the blogger and Scott Crosbie, the husband of K. C. Crosbie, the running mate of Republican gubernatorial candidate Hal Heiner…
Heiner disavowed any knowledge of the emails but apologized on behalf of the campaign.
Comer denied he ever hit the former girlfriend.
That's when all hell broke loose.
The girlfriend contacted me and said she thought she wanted to respond − she couldn't abide by Comer publicly denying the abuse, which was essentially saying that she had lied when she told family and friends about the abuse − but that she wanted to think about it over the weekend…
The Monday after the Derby, just 15 days before the primary, the woman emailed me a letter in which she said Comer had not only struck her, but was controlling and once took her to an abortion clinic in Louisville after he impregnated her.
And let’s go into what she told the Louisville Courier-Journal:
A woman who dated gubernatorial candidate James Comer while the two were in college said in a letter to The Courier-Journal on Monday that he was physically and mentally abusive to her during what she said was a two-year relationship.
"Did Jamie Comer ever hit me? Yes," wrote Marilyn Thomas, who attended Western Kentucky University with Comer in the early 1990s…
The allegations come as Comer, Kentucky's agriculture commissioner, enters the final two weeks of his campaign to be the Republican nominee for governor.
In the four-page letter, Thomas detailed a relationship that she said "was toxic, abusive and caused me a lot of suffering. His controlling and aggressive personality alienated me from most of my family and friends at the time."
Thomas said Comer threatened and belittled her and that she ultimately moved away from Kentucky in an effort to leave that chapter of her life behind. She now lives in New York City.
She has supported Hal Heiner, one of Comer's rivals for the nomination, on social media and has contributed $100 to his campaign, according to the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance.
In the letter, Thomas does not offer specific details of the alleged physical abuse other than to say Comer struck her. She told a reporter that she never filed a police complaint against him. In the letter, she said she had been "emotionally weak" at the time.
"Everything I did, everywhere I went, and everyone with whom I interacted had to be approved" by Comer, Thomas wrote. "Consequences were violent and swift otherwise."
She said Comer became "enraged" in 1991 after they visited a Louisville abortion clinic and learned that she had used his real name on a form requiring proof that she had an escort to drive her home.
As for corroboration:
Wendy Curley, who said she shared a dorm room at Western Kentucky with Thomas, said that Thomas and Comer had "a very rocky relationship."
"I would see bruises on her wrists and stuff where she'd say, 'Oh, I ran into a table,' 'I fell,' just that kind of stuff," Curley said.
Curley said Thomas never told her she was being abused. "It was always something to cover (for him). She didn't want anybody to know that he was abusive to her."
And about that abortion…
Thomas said she still has paperwork from the visit to the clinic. "I kept that piece of paper as a reminder of what desperation and rock bottom feel like. For more than 20 years, that piece of paper has been a source of anxiety and shame. But it was mine. It was only mine."
She said the paper is in a lock box at a Kentucky bank and she didn't have immediate access to it.
In the letter, Thomas said that Comer once called her parents at 2 a.m. to "make violent threats against me."
Comer had threatened Thomas with a lawsuit, but somehow, it never came to pass.
However, according to Gerth, their were rumors that Comer leaked the story to the Lexington-Herald to get at Hal Heiner. And NOW, Comer admitted to doing just that to the NYT.
That was the closest we've come to knowing the whole story. Until Tuesday when the New York Times reported that Comer admitted to leaking the email. (Comer wouldn't have ever told me that; I think the only time we talked since then was when he yelled at me near the paddock at the Derby a year or so later.)
According to the Times, "Comer confirmed, for the first time, that he had been behind the leak and strongly hinted he had gotten them from the server."
“I’ve had two servers in my lifetime,” Comer said when asked about the emails. “Hunter Biden’s is one, and you can — I’m not going to say who the other one was, but you can use your imagination.
And how did he steal those emails? He swiped them from the server of the former law partner of Scott Crosbie. Ain’t that neat?
Democrats in the House want an ethics investigation into Comer, but seeing as Republicans run the House...You know the rest. Nothing will happen for now.
Oh, and how do those lovely folks in the 1st Congressional District feel about Comer? When Comer went back after Jan 6th, he caught hell for voting to certify Biden’s electoral victory. According to Comer, people were saying to him, “Why can’t y’all overturn the election!” In other words, all the racist redneck mofos are pro-insurrection there.
This enrages and depresses me at the same time.