Kentucky Primary: Fischer breezes; Cheri Bryant Hamilton upset in District 5

Kentucky Primary: Fischer breezes; Cheri Bryant Hamilton upset in District 5
The Kentucky Primary Election is Tuesday, May 22.
The Kentucky Primary Election is Tuesday, May 22.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer easily claimed his Democratic primary contest, setting up a showdown with Angela Leet in the November general election.

Fischer grabbed 74 percent of the votes, leaving his four challengers -- Ryan Fenwick, Lawrence Williams, Daniel Gillette and Dave Biggers -- to battle over the rest of the votes.

Also noteworthy, longtime Metro Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton lost her District 5 race to Donna Purvis by a mere 154 votes, in perhaps the area's biggest surprise of the night.

In what was supposed to be another interesting council race, Nicole George easily handled Vitalis Lanshima in District 21. Following Dan Johnson's removal amid harassment claims last year, the council voted to replace him with Lanshima, who was sworn in in December. But Lanshima's short-lived run came to an end Tuesday when George gobbled up 71 percent of the votes.

O'Connell To Remain County Attorney

Like Fischer, Jefferson County Attorney Mike O'Connell also breezed in his spirited contest against Metro Councilman Brent Ackerson. Ackerson criticized O'Connell's handling of the LMPD Explorer sex scandal and accused him of pressuring staff to donate to his campaign.

"We felt very confident," said O'Connell, who punched back with claims that race factored into some of Ackerson's council voting decisions. "We worked extraordinarily hard. Everybody was involved in the campaign. We kind of thought it might break out this way, but you never know."

"He and I both want what's best for Louisville," Ackerson said. "So we have to get behind him now and say let's try to make some things happen. As far as the reason for the loss, that is something we'll ponder over for a few weeks and try to figure it out."

With no Republican contest Tuesday, O'Connell appears poised to run the office for another four years, barring a hugely popular write-in candidate come November.

Other Races Of Note

Walt Sholar won the Republican nomination for Bullitt County sheriff, holding off seven other contenders. He'll run against Democrat Myra Minton in the general election.

Former fighter pilot Amy McGrath won a closely-watched primary race for the Democratic nomination for the 6th congressional district. McGrath,a  20-year Marine with no political experience, beat out Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and three others. She'll take on Rep. Andy Barr in a district that President Donald Trump won in 2016.

David Ermold, a gay man looking to unseat lightning rod Kim Davis, lost in his bid to challenge her head-on in November. Ermold sought the Democratic nomination for Rowan County Clerk, a race won by Elwood Caudill Jr. He'll go up against Davis, who spent time in jail in 2015 for denying Ermold and his partner, as well as other same-sex couples, marriage licenses, in a case that made national headlines for several months.

Another surprise took place in House District 71, where high school math teacher and political newcomer Travis Brenda rode a wave of support from educators to unseat Kentucky's House Majority Floor Leader Jonathan Shell. Brenda picked up the GOP nomination by a narrow margin and will face Democrat Mary Renfro in November. Brenda was one of at least 16 current or former educators on ballots in Kentucky this year. District 71 includes Garrard and Rockcastle counties, and part of Madison County.

According to the state Board of Elections, voter turnout in Jefferson County was 17 percent Tuesday, while statewide, the number was 23 percent.

Below are a few links to some of WAVE 3 News' primary preview coverage:

+ Brent Ackerson explains what he'd do if elected Jefferson County Attorney

Candidates in District 21 are familiar foes

Bullitt County Sheriff's race has 8 candidates

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