Baker's dozen of Democrats run to replace retiring Louisville co - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Baker's dozen of Democrats run to replace retiring Louisville councilwoman

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Tuesday's Democratic primary features 13 candidates from Metro Council's Ninth District, which includes Crescent Hill, Clifton and parts of St. Matthews. Tuesday's Democratic primary features 13 candidates from Metro Council's Ninth District, which includes Crescent Hill, Clifton and parts of St. Matthews.
Tina Ward-Pugh Tina Ward-Pugh
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A crowded field is seeking to replace Tina Ward-Pugh, one of Louisville's longest-serving council members who is retiring.

Tuesday's Democratic primary features 13 candidates from Metro Council's Ninth District, which includes Crescent Hill, Clifton and parts of St. Matthews. Laura Rice was the only Republican to file.

Most of the candidates are actively campaigning and many in the district couldn't remember a race that featured a larger, more competitive field.

"I'm excited about the field," Tina Ward-Pugh said in an interview this week. "It's a chance that many people don't have (to compete for an open seat)."

Ward-Pugh said she didn't see anything bad about the size of the field, although some have raised concerns that the primary winner could advance with just 10 percent of the vote.

"It is a little concerning that a very small population base could elect our next representative," said Patrick Schmidt, who lives in the district. Still, Schmidt said the field would provide voters with good choices.

There would be no runoff because it's a winner-take-all primary, said Nore Ghibaudy, a spokesman for Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw.

The large number of candidates could increase the chance of a close election, Ghibaudy said.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer created controversy in February by endorsing Democrat Bill Hollander in the race. Hollander is a retired attorney.

Neither Ward-Pugh nor the Frankfort Avenue Business Association have endorsed a candidate. The business group held a candidate forum in March that drew about 200 people, said Kathy Schmitt, a member of the organization's board of directors.

"It really requires someone full time," Schmitt said. "It's going to take someone who can hit the ground running."

Schmitt said Ward-Pugh had done an excellent job of representing the district.

The Democratic candidate field includes five lawyers, businesspeople, a professional fund-raiser, an engineer and a barista.

Besides Hollander, the candidates are:

  • Steve Imhoff, a lawyer
  • Greg Bourke, a data analyst with Humana
  • Bette Niemi, a lawyer
  • Jane Bennett, a small business owner
  • Jason Clark, a graphic designer
  • Benjamin Vaughan, an engineer
  • Jonathan Musselwhite, a barista
  • J.P. Davis, a University of Louisville fund-raiser
  • Mike Brooks, a theater business manager
  • Geoffrey Morris, a former judge
  • Chris Hartley, a lawyer
  • Mollie Younger Noe, a real estate agent

Ward-Pugh said she only chose a candidate, whom she didn't name, when she voted absentee earlier this week.

"I wanted them to have an equal chance, I wanted it to be fair," she said. "I don't want the Ninth District to just vote for whoever Tina Ward-Pugh says is the best candidate."

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