Political newcomer beats longest-serving member of Metro Council
First-time candidate Donna Purvis upset Cheri Bryant Hamilton in Tuesday night's 5th District Democratic primary.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- In perhaps the biggest upset of primary night Tuesday in Louisville, the longest serving member of Metro Council fell to a political newcomer.
First-time candidate Donna Purvis knocked off 5th District council member Cheri Bryant Hamilton by 154 votes. Hamilton is a charter member of the council and leader of the Democratic majority.
Purvis said she still can't quite believe it.
“There’s a lot of excitement,” Purvis said. “I’m still numb.”
Purvis beat the only Metro Council member that the west Louisville district has ever had. Hamilton has served 16 years on Metro Council after two years on the old Board of Aldermen.
“The voters sent a message that they are ready for change,” Purvis said, adding that her top priority is violent crime. “It's a big issue here. We have people who are prisoners in their own homes.”
In fact, Purvis had her own close encounters with crime on the campaign trail when she was fired at twice as she walked the district.
“I have what I call a badge of honor," she said. "I have a bullet hole in the back of my car."
Purvis believes the answer is not just more police but also fixing the district's crumbling sidewalks and abandoned homes.
“If we want economic development, if we want business in this district, we will have to deal with these serious issues first,” she said.
The day after her defeat, Hamilton was back at City Hall taking part in an active shooter drill. Despite being shot down at the polls, she seemed content.
“I have no regrets. You win some, you lose some,” Hamilton said. “This time, I just happened to lose.”
It was Hamilton’s first loss ever and, despite the slim margin, she said she will not request a recanvass,
“I'm satisfied," she said. "If they want a change, it's time for a change.”
And Purvis said she plans to be that change.
“This district is in bad shape, and I have the passion, I have the vision, I have the dream to move it forward,” she said.
Purvis faces Republican John Owen in the fall. If she wins, Purvis, who owns a commercial cleaning business, said she not will serve more than two terms.
Hamilton said after her term ends later this year, she plans to write a book.
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