Riding a message of an urgent need for public safety, former 21c Museum Hotels CEO Craig Greenberg won Louisville’s Democratic Party mayoral primary on Tuesday, just three months after surviving an assassination attempt.
The Associated Press called the race for Greenberg around 9 p.m. and the deep-pocketed candidate emerged on stage at his watch party shortly after, expressing the need for unity across the city, saying he would work toward a safer, “more inclusive” and “transparent” Louisville if elected during the general election in November.
“To those that supported another candidate in the primary, I hear you, and invite you to join our team and contribute your ideas and energy,” Greenberg said after being introduced to a crowded stage by his sons while walking out to Bruce Springsteen. “And to those who didn’t vote in the Democratic primary, I invite you to also join our team to make Louisville a safer, stronger and healthier city. My administration will work with everyone all across Louisville, so every family, every person, has a safe neighborhood in which to live and equitable opportunities and a strong education to pursue their dreams.”
According to the election data from the Jefferson County Clerk’s office, as of 9:45 p.m. on Tuesday night, Greenberg received 34,115 votes, which was followed by activist Shameka Parrish-Wright’s 17,730. Longtime Jefferson County Circuit Court Clerk David Nicholson stood in third at 14,123 and Tim Findley, Jr was the only other candidate that broke 10,000 votes with 12,672.
Greenberg will face Jeffersontown mayor Bill Dieruf in the general election. As of 10:35 p.m., Dieruf had 29,324 votes.
During Greenberg’s watch party at the C2 Event Venue in Smoketown, the candidate’s team started their programming with a string of speakers around 6:45 p.m., showing a confidence in early polling numbers, with several members of Metro Council and local union leaders taking the stage, often referencing “the next mayor of Louisville.”
Councilperson Nicole George, who represents District 21, which includes the Beechmont and Iroquois neighborhoods, said that she did not intend to endorse anyone in the mayoral race, but Greenberg’s platform eventually swayed that decision. About an hour before the race was called, she had some strong words from the stage.
“It wasn’t until December of last year that I looked up and realized that there was only one candidate that had put the work in, that had demonstrated the competence, the commitment, who had the energy to do the job justice to become our next mayor,” she said.
Councilperson Keisha Dorsey, who represents District 3, which includes West End neighborhoods like Algonquin and California, said she thinks that Greenberg is capable of doing what it takes to lead the city.
“Today, when I stand with Craig, I stand with a man who is willing to risk it all in order to take this city to the next level.”
On Feb. 14, Greenberg survived an assassination attempt at his former campaign headquarters in Butchertown after a gunman walked into the office and opened fire as the candidate was meeting with staff. Greenberg and four staffers were uninjured, though a bullet passed through Greenberg’s sweater and shirt. Prominent activist Quintez Brown was arrested for the shooting and currently faces state and federal charges.
Later, Greenberg would say that the attempt on his life gave him new perspective and resolve on Louisville’s record-breaking levels of violence.
Greenberg raised more than any other candidate in the mayoral contest, pulling in $1.4 million. In the weeks before the election, his campaign’s TV and streaming ads calling for funding universal pre-k and “fully” funding the Louisville Metro Police Department, were ubiquitous. At his primary watch party, Greenberg’s campaign manager and former councilperson Barbara Sexton Smith also claimed that “the Greenberg machine” knocked on more than 30,000 doors.
Nicholson was second in fundraising efforts, pulling in $626,000, less than half of what Greenberg raised. Other war chests were much smaller; Parrish-Wright collected nearly $71,000 and Findley took in just over $50,000.
Parrish-Wright and Findley are notable community activists who took part in the protests that followed the police killing of Breonna Taylor. Findley tweeted a concession at 10:08 p.m. Tuesday night, saying, “I’m proud of the campaign that we ran. I’m proud of the amazing team, I worked with every day. I’m proud of how we represented. I didn’t get the results I wanted, but I’m encouraged. “
Findley added that he will be running for office again.
Parrish-Wright told LEO in an interview before the election that she would make a good mayor because, “There is no issue, that any mayoral candidate is running on that I haven’t been impacted by, that I haven’t lived and I haven’t fought for on a social justice level.”
Findley told LEO in his pre-election interview, “I should be Louisville’s next mayor because Louisville needs bold leadership and equity-focused economic development.”
While Greenberg differed from Parrish-Wright and Findley by calling for a more robust police force at a time when distrust of LMPD remains high, he has also called for it to be the most transparent, most trusted and best trained police force in the country.
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