LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Republican candidate for governor James Comer has flatly denied he abused his college girlfriend and said his campaign was moving forward.
Comer, one of four candidates seeking the Republican nomination for governor, scheduled a news conference Tuesday at the Hilton Lexington/Downtown to address the allegations.
The news conference comes one day after Marilyn Thomas outlined several accusations in a letter to the Louisville Courier-Journal and threatened to bring down his campaign two weeks before Election Day.
In a letter to the Courier-Journal, Thomas said Comer hit her and drove her to a medical clinic to receive an abortion in 1991.
Marilyn Thomas and Comer dated while both attended Western Kentucky University. Thomas said Comer was physically and mentally abusive.
On Tuesday, Comer acknowledged dating Thomas and said the two mutually ended their relationship in the 1990s. Comer said he never hit her and never drove her to an abortion clinic.
"I flatly deny that allegation; it is untrue," he said. "Everyone who knows me understands that the charges are completely incompatible with everything I stand for. Everything that I am."
Comer said the last time he saw Thomas was in 2001 in New York City, when the two had dinner and she gave him a political book. He held up the book, showed it to reporters and read a passage signed on the inside.
"That was the last time that I saw Marilyn Thomas. I thanked her for the gift," he said. He explained that their last encounter was closer to their breakup than today, and inferred that it had far more to do with the election than anything of substance.
The "bizarre" and "untrue" allegations have surfaced just two weeks before the primary election, he said.
Comer, who was flanked by his wife Tamara Jo Comer, immediately took issue with the Courier-Journal for running its article on Monday. He said the article -- which he later called garbage -- was "filled with inconsistencies, implausible scenarios and flat out lies."
"The fact that The Courier-Journal is publishing this garbage is a reflection on them, not me," he said. "They should be ashamed of this Rolling Stone style journalism. As the newspaper descends into irrelevance, they have tried to claim my scalp as a means for their own financial rescue."
Comer dismissed the Courier-Journal's article as "House of Cards tactics" and noted that there's nothing in that article that resembles reality.
Comer's lawyer promised a "devastating lawsuit" if the Courier-Journal published the story. Comer told the Lexington Herald-Leader he was set out to "prove this is the worst political dirty trick in Kentucky history."
On Tuesday, Comer said he is considering legal action against the parties involved.
"All legal options are on the table," he said.
When asked whether she believed the allegations, Comer's wife said "absolutely not true."
"Jamie and I grew up together; we're from the same town," Tamara Jo Comer said. "If you know anything about small towns ... I knew everything about Jamie Comer and I still do. I married him almost 12 years ago and I'd do the same thing today ... so absolutely not true."
Comer said this situation is unfortunate, but "we're moving on with this campaign."
"This symbolizes -- this type of dirty, gutter politics -- symbolizes everything that I'm against," he said.
Comer said these rumors have been pushed for years. He said this was a politically calculated maneuver.
Comer also said the allegations have not been harmful to his campaign. Comer said he has received support from other people in his party, including women. He said there has been an "overflowing" amount of support.