Metro Council: Victors in 4th, 8th cite listening as key

Metro Council: Though 4th landslide, 8th squeaker, both victors cite listening as key
Brandon Coan (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Brandon Coan (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Barbara Sexton Smith (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Barbara Sexton Smith (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Arguably, no two Metro Council Districts are more reliable Democratic strongholds than the 4th (Urban Core) and the 8th (Greater Highlands).

High-profile draws high-interest when a Council member retires. None more so than the 8th, after near-icon Tom Owen announced this term would be his last.

"It was a very tough decision," said John Delph, a Belknap resident who voted at Bellarmine University's Knights Hall Tuesday. "All of them are quality people and quality candidates. You just had to be informed."

Delph didn't expect his candidate, Bio-Engineer Josh White, to win. White finished 6th in a 7-horse field.

Tyler Park attorney S. Brandon Coan, eked out a narrow victory over West Louisville Foodport developer Stephen Reily, 2,275 votes to 2,159 - the choice of slightly fewer than one-quarter of the ballots cast. The candidate who vowed to build bridges promised to begin construction quickly.

"We'll be talking about public safety," Coan said Tuesday night. "Of getting more people involved in civic affairs - sharing responsibility sharing power, really passing the torch from generation to generation."

If the message recalls the late John F. Kennedy or Bill Clinton - know that service to the 42nd President is on Coan's resume. The winner of the race to succeed David Tandy in the 4th District, shares the sentiment.

"All day long I kept hearing people, text or email and say, 'Barbara we're with you because you came back to our neighborhood and knocked on our doors two or three times,'" Barbara Sexton Smith said.

Her "selfie-table," full of photos with voters, suggests why the self-proclaimed "rewirer-in-chief" defeated University of Louisville public policy student-instructor Bryan Burns and long-time resident Marshal Gazaway by taking almost two-thirds of the ballots cast, carrying every precinct.

"I'm hoping to get as much interaction as I possibly can with Councilman Tandy as well as all the other Council members, because I want to hit the ground absolutely running," she said.

Owen had endorsed his long-time aide, former police officer Terra Long, as his successor. Coan wants to meet with Owen soon.

"Working on communication across neighborhood and small city lines, and bringing people together, is where the opportunity lies," Coan said.

Unclear was how the Democratic Presidential Primary affected turnout or outcome in either Council race. Precinct officials at Bellarmine reported turnout of about 35-40 percent; Typical for the Greater Highlands, and far higher than the 20 percent Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes had forecast for statewide participation last week. Grimes, a vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton, had urged Democrats to get out the vote at several rallies in succeeding days.

Sexton Smith has no doubt it played a role.

"They (voters) asked me how I'd vote, 'cause that's how I'm gonna decide whether I'm voting for you or  not," she said. "I like that they were that engaged, I don't know that I like the philosophy that they were using to make that decision."

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