Incumbent Mike O'Connell handily beat Democratic challenger Brent Ackerson in Tuesday night's primary to remain Jefferson County Attorney. 

No Republicans have filed to run, meaning only a write-in candidate could challenge the winner of the May 22 election.

In an unusually fiery race - with allegations of racism and covering up of sexual abuse - O'Connell easily held off Ackerson, a metro councilman.

"My feeling is one of gratitude," O'Connell said in an interview. "I'm very grateful to the voters of Jefferson County and for their confidence in the office and the work we do."

O'Connell said he exchanged voice mails with Ackerson, giving him credit for a hard fought race and wishing him well. 

"I looked forward to doing the work the office does here," he said.

Ackerson, who was elected to the council in 2008, had implied that O’Connell may be protecting community leaders who knew of the police sexual abuse scandal and could have stopped it earlier.

O’Connell has fired back, insinuating race was a factor when Ackerson was the only council Democrat to vote against appointing University of Louisville professor Ricky L. Jones to a citizen’s police accountability board in May.

“Your vote was embarrassing and shameful and I trust that something like that will never happen again,” O’Connell told Ackerson at the April 12 forum. “But it seems to be consistent with some of your votes on council.”

O’Connell was appointed in 2008 and has won election twice since.

O’Connell collected $387,735 and spent $106,995, according to the most recent reports from the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance.

Ackerson, meanwhile, raised only about $28,000 and spent $6,300.

O’Connell, a Louisville native and St. X graduate, served as a district court judge from 1980 to 1987 and on the circuit bench from 1987 to 1990. He has run the county attorney’s office – with about 350 employees – for more than a decade now, winning state county attorney of the year award in Kentucky last year.

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