Incumbent battles, new blood in Metro Council primaries - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Incumbent battles, new blood in Metro Council primaries

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Five Metro Council incumbents face challengers in Tuesday's primary election, including a tightly-contested race in a district covering western and southwestern Louisville.

Candidates in two districts are vying to become their party's standard bearers in the fall general election, taking the place of longtime council members who aren't seeking re-election.

Here's an overview of Tuesday's seven races:


The race in District 1 – an area bordered by the Ohio River that includes the Chickasaw and Parkland neighborhoods in western Louisville and areas along Camp Ground and Cane Run roads in southwestern Louisville – has gotten heated in the days leading to the primary.

Tuesday's result will likely determine the area's next council member, since no Republican has filed to take on the Democratic winner later this year.

Attica Scott, a college instructor and former coordinator with Kentucky Jobs with Justice, is running against former prosecutor Jessica Green, the daughter of the late council member Judy Green.

Judy Green represented District 1 until the council removed her from office in 2011 after finding she violated city ethics rules. Scott was then elected to replace her and subsequently won an election to fill out the remainder of Green's term in 2012.

Scott has pushed social-justice initiatives while on the council. Among other issues, she backed the "Ban the Box" ordinance, which will keep city vendors from asking job applicants if they have been convicted of a crime; advocated for a minimum-wage increase in Louisville; and questioned city incentives being used to lure a Walmart store to western Louisville.

Green told WDRB News earlier this year that she doesn't "harbor any ill will" against any of the current council members who voted to oust her mother – even after she resigned. "The main issues for me are crime, housing, economic development, the environment, the spending of our taxes and education," Green said.

Green has targeted Scott's record in mailers sent to voters, including her stance on the Walmart plan. Green has supported the project at 18th Street and Broadway, which sits just outside the district.

Scott and other Democrats fired back last week. In a statement issued prior to a news conference, Scott said residents in District 1 "deserve better than the untruths being mailed by my opponent."

"Voters are getting sick and tired of dirty politics and bad mannered attacks," Scott said.

Scott has the edge in fundraising. She has banked $20,551, to $18,345 for Green, according to the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance.


Incumbent Mary Woolridge faces challenger David Whitlock in the Democratic primary for the district that includes the California and Algonquin neighborhoods and Shively. The winner will have no Republican opponent in the fall.

Woolridge was a member of the old Louisville Board of Aldermen before being elected to the inaugural Metro Council in 2002. Whitlock is perhaps best known as a former Jefferson County Constable who resigned in 2012 after pleading guilty to shooting a suspected shoplifter in a Walmart parking lot.

Woolridge has raised $7,076, compared with $3,906 for Whitlock.


Cheri Bryant Hamilton, who has served on the council since city and county governments merged, faces challenger Keith Morgan in the Democratic race for the district that includes Portland and western Louisville neighborhoods bordered by Shawnee Park.

Hamilton's war chest for the primary was $8,860, while state records show no receipts for Morgan.

The winner will face Republican John Owen in November.


Two candidates are running for the seat being vacated by Ken Fleming, a Republican who is not seeking reelection. Fleming has represented the district – an area that covers St. Matthews, Lyndon and a number of small eastern Louisville cities – since merger.

Angela Leet is making her first bid for elected office, while Shawn Slone has previously run unsuccessfully for and pulled out of races for state legislative offices.

Leet has raised more than $36,500, compared with $325 for Slone.

The winner will move on to face Democrat Bruce Maples in the general election.


The most crowded primary is in the district that includes Crescent Hill and Clifton, which had been represented by former Board of Aldermen member Tina Ward-Pugh since merger.

The Democratic race has 13 candidates vying to move on and run against Republican Laura Rice in the fall.


Marianne Butler, a Democrat who serves as the council's budget chair, faces two opponents in the Democratic primary for her South Louisville district that spans the Churchill Downs and Iroquois Park areas.

Challengers Khalilah Collins and Blake Oliver are making their first bids for office. Butler, the daughter of the late Kentucky State Rep. Denver Butler, first won election to the council in 2006.

Butler holds a wide fundraising advantage, having banked $24,530, compared with $3,215 for Collins. Oliver has not reported any campaign receipts.

No Republicans have filed to take on the Democratic primary winner.


Longtime incumbent Dan Johnson, a former Board of Aldermen member, is being challenged by Erich Shumake in his bid for re-election to the council district near Louisville International Airport.

Johnson has served on the council since merger. Shumake is making his first run for public office.

Shumake hasn't reported raising any money in the race, while Johnson has raised more than $9,700.

No candidates have filed to run against the Democratic primary winner in the general election.

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