Following Congressman Ed Whitfield’s resignation this week, both the Democratic and Republican candidates for his 1st District seat praised the lawmaker’s 22 years in Washington.
Whitfield announced his retirement nearly a year ago, but submitted a letter of resignation to Gov. Matt Bevin this week, effective September 6.
Republican nominee James Comer says Whitfield’s move presents a unique opportunity for the winner of the coming special election, assuming they also win the general election.
“I feel like he’s resigned to help the next Congressman gain seniority, so I think that was a very noble thing for him to do and I appreciate it and hopefully I can win the election and gain some badly needed seniority right off the bat," Comer said.
Comer says the special election for the remainder of Whitfield’s term will take place the same day as the general election. He will face Democrat Sam Gaskins in both. Gaskins thanked Whitfield for his representation of the 1st District.
“I know that serving people is a very big responsibility and he’s done it for 22 years and I have to commend him for that," Gaskins said. "It’s a hard job and it’s a thankless job at times.”
Comer said, based on a similar situation with Rep. Thomas Massie's 4th District seat, the winner will likely be sworn in as soon as the results are certified by the Secretary of State’s office.
Whitfield did not offer an explanation as to why he decided to cut his final term short, but said he would announce his future plans in the next 30 days.