A former Lexington mayor and a former police chief filed Tuesday to run for the city’s top job, turning the contest for mayor of Kentucky’s second-largest city into a seven-way race.
Former Mayor Teresa Isaac, who was mayor from 2003 to 2007, filed to run for the office Tuesday just 10 minutes before the 4 p.m. deadline.
Isaac, who was defeated by Jim Newberry in November 2006, said she had received a lot of encouragement to join the race.
“I feel like I have a lot to contribute to the community,” Isaac said. “I will work on housing, public safety and economic development.”
Former Lexington Police Chief and Commissioner of Public Safety Ronnie Bastin also filed Tuesday afternoon. Bastin, who served seven years as chief before Mayor Jim Gray appointed him commissioner of public safety three years ago, resigned as commissioner Tuesday to run for office.
Bastin said his more than 30 years in public safety make him the ideal candidate to address Lexington’s top issues — crime and the epidemic of opioid abuse.
“These issues are very near and dear to me,” Bastin said Tuesday afternoon. “I love people … I want to give back to the community.”
Former Vice Mayor Linda Gorton and At-Large Councilman Kevin Stinnett had already launched their campaigns for mayor. Gray announced in December that he would run for Congress rather than seek a third and final term as Lexington mayor.
Rounding out the list of candidates are Ike Lawrence, who has a real estate company and owns several downtown properties; Skip Horine, who previously ran for mayor in 1993 and 2010; and William Weyman, a first-time candidate.
The top two vote-getters in the May primary election will advance to the November general election.
All merged-government elections — from mayor to council district races — are nonpartisan.
The race that will decide Lexington’s next vice mayor also is crowded.
Ten people have filed to run in the at-large Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council race. The top vote-getter in that race becomes vice mayor. The second- and third-place finishers become four-year at-large council members who represent the entire county.
Two incumbent at-large candidates have filed for re-election: Vice Mayor Steve Kay and at-large Councilman Richard Moloney.
Kay has been an at-large councilman for seven years, spending the last three as vice mayor. He kicked off his re-election campaign at an event Thursday.
“People have to come first,” Kay said. “When we consider how to allocate our limited resources, we must work to maintain the quality of life most of us enjoy and improve the quality of life of those who do not benefit fully from all we have to offer.”
Moloney came in third in the at-large race in 2014. He was previously on the council as a district representative before taking a job in state government. He later served as chief administrative officer and commissioner for environmental quality and public works under Gray.
Former at-large Councilman Chuck Ellinger II also filed to run for his former seat. Harry Clarke, who previously held the 10th Council District seat, also filed Tuesday to run in the city-wide race.
Other candidates in the at-large race include Adrian Wallace, who recently stepped aside as president of the Lexington NAACP; Arnold Farr, a University of Kentucky philosophy professor; Matt Miniard; Connie Kell; Todd Hamill; and Lillie E. Miller-Johnson.
The top six finishers in the May primary will advance to the general election in November.
Council district races
Only one incumbent district council member will go unchallenged this year.
No one filed to challenge councilwoman Amanda Bledsoe, who represents the 10th Council District. It includes areas such as Beaumont and parts of Southland Drive.
Two candidates will battle in the fall for all but one other council district seat. In the 11th Council District, five candidates will be winnowed to two in the May primary.
Councilwoman Peggy Henson, who has held the seat since 2008, is not seeking re-election. Well-known candidates in that race include Sandy Shafer, who has previously been on the council; David Jones, a lawyer and real estate investor who is the co-owner of Soundbar; William “Bill” Swope, a former state fire marshal and Lexington assistant fire chief. Other candidates include Charles A. Lloyd and Jennifer Reynolds.
Here’s who’s running in the other district council races:
In the 1st District, Councilman James Brown will face Anita Rowe Franklin, an activist who has spent years advocating against gun violence. The district includes parts of downtown and the area from Midland Avenue to near Georgetown Street.
In the 2nd District, Councilman Joe Smith will face Josh McCurn. The district includes neighborhoods along the Leestown Road and Georgetown Street corridors.
In the 3rd District, Councilman Jake Gibbs will face Renee Jackson Shepard, the former president of the Downtown Lexington Corporation. She is now a consultant. The district includes much of downtown and neighborhoods around the University of Kentucky.
In the 4th District, Councilwoman Susan Lamb will face Barry Saturday, who withdrew from the race against Lamb two years ago. The district includes neighborhoods between Tates Creek and Nicholasville roads.
In the 5th District, Councilman Bill Farmer Jr. will face newcomer Liz Sheehan, a senior lecturer at the University of Kentucky who has a PhD in psychology. The district includes much of the Chevy Chase area and neighborhoods between Richmond and Tates Creek roads.
In the 6th District, Councilwoman Angela Evans will face Gabriel Wilburn, a political newcomer who works for a local Lexington technology company. The district includes neighborhoods in the Winchester Road area, including Hamburg.
In the 7th District, Preston Worley, who was recently appointed to fill the vacant seat, will face Chris Logan, a minister who has run for council in prior years. The district includes many neighborhoods off of Richmond Road, including those near Hayes Boulevard.
In the 8th District, Councilman Fred Brown will face Christian Motley. The district includes neighborhoods between Tates Creek and Alumni Drive and New Circle and Man o’ War Boulevard.
In the 9th District, Councilwoman Jennifer Mossotti will face Jacob Glancy, the owner of Jake’s Cigar Bar and Lounge in Nicholasville. The district includes neighborhoods between Nicholasville and Harrodsburg roads, including Stonewall, Pinnacle and Robinwood.
In the 12th District, Councilwoman Kathy Plomin will face Monteia Mundy Owenby, a lawyer and political newcomer. The district includes most of the rural portions of Fayette County.