By Bruce Schreiner
The Associated Press
LOUISVILLE - Alice Baesler, a Fayette County farmer and wife of an ex-congressman, emerged from a crowded field Tuesday to win the Democratic nomination for agriculture commissioner.
Baesler's victory sets up a match up with former University of Kentucky basketball player Richie Farmer in the November election.
Farmer, a first-time candidate, scored a decisive victory in the Republican primary over Leonard "Buck" Beasley of Bloomfield, a longtime promoter of truck and tractor shows and racing events.
Farmer got 79 percent of the vote to 21 percent for Beasley.
In the Democratic primary, Baesler outdistanced seven other candidates. Baesler had 23 percent of the vote. State Sen. Joey Pendleton of Hopkinsville ran second with 19 percent.
Barney Hornback, a longtime administrator in the Agriculture Department, had 16 percent. Further down in the totals were Roy Massey, a former deputy agriculture commissioner; Glen Holbrook of West Liberty; and Glendale farmer Steve Meredith.
Baesler is a former ranking aide in the Agriculture Department. She is married to Scotty Baesler, a former congressman and Lexington mayor and a former University of Kentucky basketball captain under coach Adolph Rupp. The couple operate a large tobacco and cattle farm in Fayette County.
Farmer, a financial planner in Manchester, earned a degree in agriculture economics and agribusiness management at Kentucky but is best known as a basketball player. "I think there's no doubt that that helps," Farmer said. "The people of the state have always supported me and been good to me."
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