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Louisville Metro Council races are set following Tuesday primary

Privacy shields that say "VOTE" with images of American flags
Giselle Rhoden
A voter at the polls on primary election day in Louisville on Tuesday, May 21, 2024.

Louisville residents went to the polls Tuesday to decide who they want to represent their party in the Metro Council election in November.

All of Louisville Metro Council’s even-numbered districts are up for grabs this year.

Metro Council is the legislative body governing Jefferson County. The 26 members, each representing about 30,000 residents, control the city budget and set policy for everything ranging from trash collection and land use to addressing gun violence.

In some council districts, where Democrats or Republicans far outnumber members of the opposing party, Tuesday’s primary elections were likely the deciding factor in who will represent them in a four-year term starting next January. For other districts, the primaries set the stage for months of campaigning and jockeying between two candidates.

Here’s a rundown of the results of this year’s Metro Council primaries:

District 2 (Newburg, Buechel)

Incumbent Democrat Barbara Shanklin easily beat back a challenge from education activist Latosha Harrison. Voters in District 2 chose Shanklin, 1,015-828.

Shanklin is a founding member of the Louisville Metro Council, representing District 2 since the 2003 city-county merger.

No Republican has filed to run in the district, meaning Shanklin will serve another four-year term.

District 4 (Downtown, NuLu, Russell)

Small business owner Ken Herndon clawed his way through a crowded field of candidates to win the Democratic nomination Tuesday. He won with 552 votes. Demetrius McDowell Sr. came in second place with 464 votes.

Stan Moore, who spent more than any other candidate in the race at $67,000, came in fourth place with 160 votes.

District 4 had the largest field of candidates in any Metro Council primary this year. Eleven people filed to run as Democrats after Council Member Jecorey Arthur, a Democrat turned Independent, announced last October that he wouldn’t seek reelection.

District 6 (Shelby Park, Old Louisville, Parkland)

All the Metro Council incumbents won their primaries except District 6’s Phillip Baker.

J.P. Lyninger, a community organizer endorsed by the local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, won the Democratic nomination. Lyninger earned 1,169, nearly 500 votes more than Baker. With no Republicans in the race for this seat, Lyninger is expected to join the council in January.

Baker was appointed to his seat last year to fill a vacancy in District 6.

District 8 (Highlands, Seneca Gardens, Deer Park)

Metro Council Member Ben Reno-Weber overcame a serious primary challenge to secure his first full term.

Like Baker in District 6, Reno-Weber was appointed to the District 8 seat last year to fill a vacancy. He went on to win a special election in November.

He took home 3,800 votes Tuesday night, roughly 1,400 more than his opponent: community organizer Taylor McGovern-U’Sellis.

Reno-Weber is the deputy director of the Health Equity Innovation Hub at the University of Louisville.

There is no Republican candidate in District 8, meaning Reno-Weber will continue to represent it.

District 10 (Audubon Park, Camp Taylor, Bashford Manor)

Democratic state Rep. Josie Raymond will join Metro Council as the District 10 representative in January.

No other candidate of any party filed to run.

District 12 (Pleasure Ridge Park)

Public school teacher Jonathan “JJ” Joseph won the Republican nomination for District 12 with 59% of the vote. He beat out two other candidates: Ryan Thompson and Jennifer Fox Brown.

Joseph will take on incumbent Rick Blackwell in November. Blackwell, a Democrat and chair of the council’s Budget Committee, is another founding member of Metro Council.

District 14 (Valley Station, far southwest Jefferson County)

In District 14, Democratic incumbent Cindi Fowler easily won over two primary challengers, Autumn Lockhart and Neal A. Robertson.

Fowler, who chairs the council’s Parks and Sustainability Committee, received 934 votes. Neither of her opponents broke 200. Fowler first took office in 2012.

She will face a serious general election challenger in November in Crystal Bast, who easily defeated her opponent, Crystal Ann Barajas, with 70% of the vote in the Republican primary. Bast is a medical billings specialist and founder of the Valley Downs Neighborhood Watch.

Republicans are looking to gain additional seats in southwest Louisville after the party flipped two seats in its favor two years ago for the first time since the city-county merger in 2003.

District 16 (Prospect, Glenview, Indian Hills)

There were no primaries in District 16.

Democrat Matthew Golden, a member of former Mayor Greg Fischer’s administration, will take on incumbent Republican Metro Council Member Scott Reed in November. Reed was first elected in 2016.

District 18 (Douglass Hills, Lyndon, Hurstbourne)

Republican incumbent Marilyn Parker defeated challenger Bonnie Jung by a hefty margin.

Jung, the current mayor of Douglass Hills, received just 650 votes compared to Parker’s 1,653. Parker has represented District 18 since 2013.

Mera Kathryn Corlett, a Justice of the Peace who ran unsuccessfully against Parker in 2020, was uncontested in the Democratic primary.

District 20 (unincorporated areas south of Jeffersontown)

Metro Council Member Stuart Benson, another Republican incumbent in southeast Louisville, also won out over a serious challenger.

He received 225 more votes than his opponent, two-term Jeffersontown City Council Member Brian Abrams. In total, about 2,000 people voted.

Benson was a founding member of the Metro Council. He currently serves as vice chair of the council’s Equity, Community Affairs, Housing, Health and Education Committee.

Democrat Marita Willis will be Benson’s opponent in the general election.

District 22 (Fern Creek)

Republican state Rep. Kevin Bratcher came out on top in the Republican primary, winning 88% of the vote. Bratcher jumped into the race after longtime Metro Council Member Robin Engel announced his retirement last December.

Bratcher will face off against Democrat Rasean Crawley in November, who was uncontested in the primary. District 22 has never had a Democratic representative.

District 24 (Okolona, Highview)

With founding District 24 Metro Council Member Madonna Flood retiring this year, three people filed to replace her.

Republican Ginny Mulvey-Woolridge did not have any challengers, so she automatically advanced to the general election.

On the Democratic side, Jefferson County Public Schools teacher Tyra Thomas-Walker beat Army veteran Ryan Vittitow. Thomas-Walker earned 59% of the vote.

District 26 (parts of Jeffersontown, Fern Creek)

Democrat Brent Ackerson will go entirely unchallenged this year, winning another four-year term. He was elected to Metro Council in 2008.

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

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