Comer: Stressing Social Issues Not the Key to Election Success for the GOP

Aug 7, 2013

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Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner says Republicans need to focus on the economy in order to win statewide office, as opposed to stressing social issues.

In an interview at WKU Public Radio Wednesday, James Comer said the GOP has alienated a lot of key voting groups by making hot-button social topics the cornerstone of their campaigns.

“I’m proud to be a social conservative, but I’m not going to run any campaign in the future—regardless of what I run for—specifically on social issues. That has driven off young voters, and that has driven off female voters.”

Comer’s comments echo much of what Kentucky U.S. Senator Rand Paul has said recently about the future of the GOP, and the party’s need to become more attractive to groups of voters that will determine Republicans’ future electoral prospects.

Comer says he’s not worried about the recent Republican Party in-fighting between Sen. Paul and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, seen by many as a showdown between the GOP’s Tea Party faction and the party’s more establishment wing.

“This is cyclical,” said Comer. “The Democrat Party had the same sort of problems a few years ago with the very liberal wing of the party, and the more moderate wing of the party. The same thing is going on with the Republican Party. I think as we look ahead into the future, especially in Kentucky in a gubernatorial race, people are focused on jobs and the economy.”

Comer is Kentucky’s highest-ranking Republican statewide officeholder, and he is often mentioned a possible gubernatorial candidate. But the Monroe County native said Wednesday he doesn’t feel any rush to decide on future races at this point.