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Louisville mayoral candidates raise hundreds of thousands in third quarter

While Democrat Craig Greenberg was the only Louisville mayoral candidate with big fundraising numbers in July, multiple candidates now have more than $100,000 to spend ahead of next spring’s primary election.

Jeffersontown Mayor Bill Dieruf, a Republican, hadn’t started fundraising when the last campaign finance statements were due over the summer. Since then, he’s racked up more than $218,000. Democratic candidate David Nicholson, who is currently the Jefferson Circuit Court Clerk, raised roughly $210,000.

Greenberg is still outpacing all other mayoral candidates, bringing in $364,000 since July for a fundraising total of more than $800,000 with seven months to go until the primary election.

In a statement, Greenberg called the amount of financial support he’s received “humbling.” 

“We are working harder than ever and, with over 1,000 people investing in our campaign, we continue to build momentum,” Greenberg said. “Together, we will move Louisville in a new direction.”

All candidates were required to report their donations to the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance (KREF) by Monday at midnight.

Greenberg has received 278 donations of less than $100 each since he launched his campaign for mayor in April. More than 800 people have donated $100 or more to his campaign, including prominent Louisvillians like Bellarmine University President Susan Donovan, Kindred Healthcare President and COO Jason Zachariah and Mike Mays, co-founder and president of Heine Brothers Coffee. 

He also received large donations from two political action committees this quarter: the Louisville Professional Firefighters Local 345 and the Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association.

Nicholson is so far the only Democratic candidate to come close to keeping pace with Greenberg since July. His $210,000 in fundraising in the quarter that ended Sept. 30 came from 31 small donors and 190 people donating more than $100. Notable donors included the Hardin County Sheriff John Ward and prominent Louisville developer Jeff Underhill.

Activist and Democrat Shameka Parrish-Wright has raised roughly $21,000 since she joined the race for mayor in January. She raised $8,000 of that since July.

Parrish-Wright, who was a leader in last year’s racial justice protests in Louisville, said in a statement that she’s not concerned about Greenberg and others’ significant fundraising leads. 

“I’m not trying to be the mayor of fundraising,” she said. “Millionaires, their friends and high-dollar campaigns lose elections every term, as those dollars don’t necessarily translate to votes. I’m running to win for the 90 percent that don’t have it all or the connections.”

Parrish-Wright said her campaign is focused on increasing campaign outreach in “every neighborhood to see what their concerns and needs are.”

Another activist, Reverend Timothy Findley, Jr., told the Courier-Journal he’s raised $37,000 since announcing his campaign in March, but he currently has no campaign finance reports on file with the KREF.

In the Republican race, minister Phillip Molestina’s campaign has raised $11,250 since announcing his bid in May, which includes a $10,000 loan from himself. His fundraising significantly trails Dieruf, who has raised $218,000 from 58 small donors and 194 large donors. 

Dieruf’s campaign recently received a $250 donation from Corey Koellner, executive director of the anti-abortion advocacy group Right to Life of Louisville. He also received financial support from mayors of other suburban cities in Jefferson County: Hurstbourne Mayor Mary Masick and Sean Killeen, mayor of Woodland Hills.

He said he believes his fundraising is the result of people recognizing the experience he's gained over the last 11 years as mayor of Jeffersontown.

"I will be ready on Day One, since as Mayor I have successfully led a police department, economic development authority, public works department, parks department and city administrative services," Dieruf said. "No other candidate has this experience."

Dieruf and Molestina are the only Republican candidates to announce a run for Louisville mayor so far.

The Republican and Democratic primaries will be held on May 17, 2022.

This story has been updated to include comment from Bill Dieruf.

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