Incumbent 1st District Councilman James Brown beat challenger Jim Burton in a landslide victory in the only Urban County Council race on Tuesday's ballot. According to unofficial results, Brown received 82 percent of the vote to Burton's 18 percent.
But the race ultimately might be decided by Fayette Circuit Judge Kimberly Bunnell. A lawsuit was filed late last week challenging Brown's candidacy. It alleges he had only 86 of the required 100 signatures of registered voters needed to run. Brown, who turned in 133 signatures, has countered he had more than enough to qualify to run.
A hearing has not been set. If Bunnell rules Brown did not have the required signatures, it's unclear what would happen.
Regardless, the seat will be up for re-election in November 2016.
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Brown said his decisive victory Tuesday was a result of a lot of door-to-door canvassing. "I've been walking the district," he said. "I've been accessible and I gave people the opportunity to meet me."
Brown said the overwhelming margin of victory was a "good sign of support throughout the district."
Regardless of the outcome of the lawsuit, "the voters have decided."
Until the Thursday lawsuit, the special election had been relatively quiet. Burton and Brown campaigned on raising the minimum wage, increasing affordable housing and doing more to address speeding and other traffic issues in the district.
Brown, who was appointed to the seat by Mayor Jim Gray in April, also campaigned on his ties to the area. He has lived in the district much of his life and has held leadership positions in the Radcliffe-Marlboro neighborhood association and 16th District PTA.
Brown was appointed to the seat after Chris Ford stepped down to become the city's social services commissioner. The district includes a large portion of downtown and the northeast end, running roughly from Midland Avenue, Second and Georgetown streets to New Circle Road and out Russell Cave Road.
Brown, 39, raised nearly twice as much money as Burton, according to campaign finance reports filed this month.
Burton, 35, an independent insurance adjustor, is a graduate of Transylvania University and has lived in the district since 2010.