Kentucky’s primary election is on Tuesday, and several competitive district races for Louisville Metro Council among each party will play a key role in determining who will fill some of the five seats that will be vacated by retiring council members.
Here is a recap of each of the seven primary races for Metro Council, six of which are within the Democratic Party.
District 1 (Democrat)
Councilwoman Jessica Green is running for reelection for the first time in the district running along the western edge of the city from Chickasaw and the industrial Rubbertown area in the north to Cane Run in the south. Green, a criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor, came into office in 2014 when she defeated incumbent Attica Scott.
As a councilwoman, Green has focused on public safety and the rising homicide rate — voting for a no-confidence resolution against LMPD Chief Steve Conrad — and has pushed for stronger air quality regulations on chemical plants in Rubbertown. She is endorsed by the Fairness Campaign and the Greater Louisville Central Labor Council.
Ameerah Granger is the only challenger in the primary, a social worker who graduated from the University of Louisville and received her master’s degree in social work at Spalding University. In her campaign, she has focused on the lack of economic development in her district, and how that exacerbates problems like crime and blighted properties.
Both candidates support a dedicated source of tax revenue for the Louisville Affordable Housing Trust Fund, with Granger suggesting a possible fee for the one-time use of plastic bags and Green supporting an increase to the city’s insurance premium tax.
There is no Republican candidate running in this race, so the winner of this primary will almost certainly be the District 1 councilwoman.
District 3 (Democrat)
Longtime Democratic Councilwoman Mary Woolridge decided not to run for reelection in this West End district running from Algonquin to the edge of Shively in the south. With no Republican candidate filing to run, one of these two newcomer primary candidates will become its next councilwoman.
Josephine Layne Buckner is a resident of Shively and UofL graduate, receiving her law degree from Northern Kentucky University. She has served as a public defender and a domestic violence prosecutor. She has been endorsed in her race by the outgoing Councilwoman Woolridge, in addition to the Fairness Campaign’s PAC, the local Fraternal Order of Police and the Greater Louisville Central Labor Council.
Keisha Dorsey is a health care consultant who lives in the Hallmark neighborhood, and is the youngest among the Metro Council candidates running in a primary this week at 33 years old. Her campaign is largely focused on improving infrastructure in the district and providing transparency in spending.
District 5 (Democrat)
Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton, the current chair of the Democratic Caucus, is seeking her fifth four-year term in this northwestern district encompassing Shawnee and Portland. She has touted her experience and record in her campaign, and has been a strong critic of the police chief’s performance and restructuring of the department. She is endorsed by the Fairness Campaign and the Greater Louisville Central Labor Council.
LaVon Clark is a music consultant with business degrees from Sullivan University and Eastern Kentucky University. His campaign has focused on the problem of “food deserts” and vacant properties in the district, as well as reducing crime.
Business owner Donna Lyvette Purvis is a graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University, and her campaign has called for improving the air quality in the district and decreasing violent crime.
Less than a week before the primary, an ethics complaint was filed against Councilwoman Hamilton, alleging in part that she used $6,200 of her Neighborhood Development funds to by tickets for herself and her family to attend Kentucky Derby fundraiser galas.
Hamilton denies that she did anything wrong and says that she followed council rules, accusing Purvis’ campaign manager of being behind the last-minute complaint, which she calls a political dirty trick. Clark posted a Facebook video criticizing Hamilton for such spending, saying that NDFs should be used on projects that help the district’s constituents, like community centers.
The winner of the Democratic primary will face Republican John Mark Owen in the general election.
District 7 (Democrat)
The seat for this district running from Indian Hills to Creekside is open as Republican Councilwoman Angela Leet decided to run for mayor against Greg Fischer instead of running for reelection.
Paula McCraney is the owner of a boutique and consulting firm, as well as the spokeswoman for the Circuit Court Clerk’s office, with degrees from Webster University and Oklahoma State. She lives in St. Matthews, and her campaign has focused easing the heavy traffic congestion in the district’s busiest commercial areas. McCraney received the endorsement of the Fairness Campaign, the Greater Louisville Central Labor Council and the Metropolitan Louisville Women’s Political Caucus.
S. Lynn O’Neil is a family and criminal defense attorney with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky and a law degree from NKU. She supports the council ordinance passed last year setting guidelines for when LMPD officers can work with federal immigration agents, saying she would push for “more sanctuary city legislation.”
The winner of this Democratic primary will face Kent Hall, the only GOP candidate to file for office in the Republican-leaning district.
District 15 (Democrat)
Councilwoman Marianne Butler announced in January that she would not run for her fourth term, and now both parties are fielding candidates in primary races to fill her shoes.
Kevin Triplett is a former legislative assistant for Councilwoman Vicki Aubrey Welch, D-13 — who is also retiring this year — and has the backing of Butler in this race. He is currently retired, and his campaign is touting his experience with the workings in city hall. Triplett is endorsed by the Greater Louisville Central Labor Council.
Amaria Baker is an education consultant with degrees from UofL and the University of the Cumberlands. She supports a 1 percent increase to the city’s insurance premium tax to create a dedicated revenue stream for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
Kumar Rashad is a longtime public high school teacher and board member of the Jefferson County Teachers Association, with a master’s degree from UofL. His campaign has emphasized rebuilding outdated infrastructure and roads in the district
Marcella Ann Eubank is an accountant who says she will bring her financial experience to the council. She spoke at a council meeting last year in opposition to the no-confidence resolution against LMPD Chief Conrad, and she is endorsed by the Fairness Campaign and the Metro Louisville Women’s Political Caucus.
District 15 (Republican)
Honey Paine is a 69-year old part-time sales representative who has lived in the district for 40 years, billing herself as a political outsider with a fresh vision.
Richard Brown is a human resources professional with degrees from UofL and Jefferson Community Technical and Community College. He says he will provide a new vision for the district and stand up to “the establishment,” who will “race bait” and “party bait.” His campaign has focused on bringing in capital investment and increasing property values for the district, as well taking on drug dealers.
District 21 (Democrat)
Councilman Vitalis Lanshima was appointed by Metro Council in December, following longtime Councilman Dan Johnson’s expulsion from the body. The South End district encompassing Beechmont has a high population of immigrants, and Lanshima — a public school special education teacher — is an immigrant of Nigeria himself. Lanshima’s campaign has pushed his constituent work over the past five months and a continuity in representation for the district.
Nicole George is a social worker and graduate of Spalding University, whose campaign has focused on improving public safety and infrastructure. She also vied to be appointed by the council to this seat last year, but finished in second to Lanshima. George is endorsed by the Fairness Campaign, the Metro Louisville Women’s Political Caucus, the Greater Louisville Central Labor Council and the PAC of the Jefferson County Teachers Association.
This Democratic primary race has been marred by the presence of a mysterious group sending illegal mailers attacking George in the past week, though Lanshima has denied any ties to the group and asked them to cease and desist from such activities.
The winner of the Democratic primary faces Republican Bret Shultz in the general election this fall.