By PIPER HUDSPETH BLACKBURN, Associated Press/Report for America
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Businessman Craig Greenberg has won the Democratic primary for mayor of Kentucky’s largest city, months after surviving a shooting attempt at his campaign office.
Greenberg beat a field of eight Louisville mayoral candidates and will be buoyed in November by the Democrats’ heavy numerical advantage over the city’s Republicans. His opponent will be Bill Dieruf, mayor of the Louisville suburb of Jeffersontown, who won the Republican nomination.
Greenberg is committed to improving public safety and restoring transparency and trust in government following the racial justice protests that rocked Louisville and the nation earlier this decade.
“I’m just very excited about the future, about the general election campaign and hopefully beyond,” Greenberg said after a victory speech on election night. “My number one priority is to make Louisville safer. I want to bring the whole city together to address the big challenges we face.
Greenberg wore an orange ribbon on his lapel, a symbol commonly used to raise awareness for victims of gun violence.
The current mayor, Greg Fischer, is completing his third four-year term.
The next mayor will have to lead Louisville through a spike in gun violence, the lingering pandemic, and the prospect that Louisville could face a $70 million budget shortfall by 2024. Many residents still feel a deep sense of injustice since the March 2020 death of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old black woman shot dead in her apartment in a botched police raid.
In March, a jury acquitted the only police officer criminally charged in Taylor’s raid, leaving many city activists feeling the city’s justice system had failed Taylor and her family. “We demand truth, we demand transparency,” Bianca Austin, Taylor’s aunt, said at a March memorial for her niece’s death.
The Louisville Police Department is still under federal investigation, and many townspeople want to see improvements in public safety.
Greenberg said the attempt on his life in February this year only strengthened his resolve about the need to quell gun violence in the city. A local social justice activist has been charged in connection with the shooting and remains in federal custody.
Tensions erupted when Greenberg was shot, but the candidate escaped the gunman unharmed at the door of a campaign office. One of the staff managed to close the door, which they barricaded with tables and desks, and the suspect fled. Greenberg was untouched but said a bullet grazed his jersey.
Shooting suspect Quintez Brown, 22, has been charged with “obstructing a federally protected right, and using and discharging a firearm in connection with a felony of violence by shooting at and attempting to kill a candidate for elected office”. He remains in federal custody.
If convicted of all federal charges, Brown faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison in addition to any sentence he receives for state charges of attempted murder and free endangerment. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Federal prosecutors have alleged that Brown, a former Courier Journal columnist, wanted to kill Greenberg to prevent him from winning the mayoral race, citing Brown’s internet search history, text messages and online postings at the time. of the February shooting.
Greenberg helped start Louisville-based 21c Museum Hotels, growing the company to more than 1,100 employees. The company is credited with helping to revive Main Street in downtown Louisville and other urban neighborhoods across the country.
Hudspeth Blackburn is a member of the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places reporters in local newsrooms to report on underreported issues.
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