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Major Donations Start Flowing Into Louisville’s Mayoral Race

Craig Greenberg, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for Louisville mayor, at a campaign event in June 2021.
Craig Greenberg, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for Louisville mayor, at a campaign event in June 2021.

Louisville’s declared mayoral candidates raised nearly $500,000 in the last three months, according to campaign finance reports released over the weekend.

Candidates for office in Kentucky had to turn in second quarter campaign finance reports to the Registry of Election Finance by July 2. The reports cover fundraising from April 1 through June 30. It’s likely to be a competitive election, as Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer will not be on the ballot for the first time in a decade. 

Former 21c Museum Hotels CEO Craig Greenberg far outraised his fellow Democrats, taking in roughly $442,000 in cash. That number accounts for all of the money his campaign has raised since he announced his intention to run back in April

Greenberg said Monday that he thinks his platform of improving public safety while addressing poverty and affordable housing is resonating.

“That’s what I’m focused on: continuing to reach out to all corners of the city and hear what people are concerned about, share my ideas, but, more importantly, hear from other people in Louisville about what their ideas are to move Louisville forward,” he said.

Greenberg’s campaign contributions came from nearly 600 donors. Around 190 small donors chipped in $10,319. Another 401 supporters each donated more than $1,000 on average.

That group includes a number of prominent Louisvillians: Scott Trager, with Republic Bank, and Kindred Healthcare President Jason Zachariah each made a $2,000 individual donation to the campaign. Greenberg also received donations from Mike Mays, co-founder and president of Heine Brothers Coffee, and Matthew Barzun, publisher of Louisville Magazine.

Activist and organizer Shameka Parrish-Wright, who announced she’d run for Democratic nomination for mayor back in January, has not filed a fundraising report with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance. She told WFPL that she is still working with the agency, which recently instituted a new online filing system.

An ActBlue donation page showed Parrish-Wright has raised at least $12,879 online from 175 donors.

Parrish-Wright said she wasn’t intimidated by Greenberg’s fundraising numbers and “the votes are what matter most.”

“It’s clear that many that have donated to the likes of him and others did so to keep things the same,” she said. “The Shameka Parrish-Wright campaign represents needed changes. … It’s inspiring for the people who lost faith in politics and elected officials. People know I’m not more of the same or Fischer 2.0.”

Metro Council President David James was making financial headway in the early months of his candidacy. Before he announced on June 13 that he was suspending his campaign due to health concerns, James had raised $90,000 from 291 donors. 

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer raised $1,077,236 total during the 2010 primary, when he was vying for the Democratic nomination to replace outgoing Mayor Jerry Abramson.

Three other Democratic candidates — Timothy Findley, Margaret Trowe and Anthony Oxendine — did not have any reports on file in the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance’s online portal.

Jeffersontown Mayor Bill Dieruf is currently the only Republican candidate who’s announced a run for Louisville mayor. A spokesperson for Dieruf said he has multiple fundraisers scheduled starting in mid-July. He only began campaigning last month.

Both parties' primaries will be held on May 17, 2022.

Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled the president of Kindred Healthcare's name as Jason Zacharia and listed Scott Trager as the president of Republic Bank.

Roberto Roldan is the City Politics and Government Reporter for WFPL. Email Roberto at rroldan@lpm.org.

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