Linda Gorton won all but 55 of Lexington's 287 precincts in Tuesday's primary election for mayor.
A Herald-Leader analysis of precinct results shows Gorton, a former vice mayor and the city's longest-serving council member, winning widespread support in Fayette County's rural and urban areas. She dominated in the city's south side suburbs and only lost seven precincts inside New Circle.
Gorton monopolized the crowded seven-way primary for mayor, receiving nearly 42 percent of the vote. Ronnie Bastin, a former Lexington police chief and public safety commissioner, came in second with 25 percent, nearly 9,000 votes behind Gorton.
Gorton won despite being outspent nearly two to one by Bastin, a first-time candidate. The two will face off in the November general election.
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Gorton said she was humbled and surprised by her 17-point victory.
"I didn't expect that," she said. "I am excited to be working in a position of strength."
Bastin won 25 precincts, including several along Man o' War Boulevard. Many of those precincts are on the very edge of the city's urban service boundary and on the city's far east side. He edged out Gorton by less then five votes in four of those precincts. He and Gorton also tied in four other precincts on the city's south side.
To overcome Gorton's large lead, Bastin will need to woo voters who backed former Mayor Teresa Isaac and 14-year city councilman Kevin Stinnett, who placed third and fourth.
But support from both losing candidates might not be enough to push Bastin ahead, said Don Dugi, a professor of political science at Transylvania University.
"If he could get both Stinnett and Issac to endorse him, that might bolster his support, but even so I'm not sure it would be enough to overcome Gorton," he said.
Isaac won several precincts on the city's north side and many neighborhoods with a large minority population. The 22 precincts she won include several in the Georgetown Road corridor, the Cardinal Valley area along Versailles Road and the neighborhood around William Wells Brown Elementary just east of downtown. Isaac was mayor from 2003 to 2007 and has run for mayor three times since leaving office, consistently winning precincts with large black and Latino populations.
Stinnett won eight precincts on the city's north and east side, largely in an area of the city he represented on the council for a decade.
In 2010, Mayor Jim Gray credited Isaac for helping him win votes on the city's north side in his successful campaign to unseat incumbent Mayor Jim Newberry.
But who Isaac intends to support in November remains unclear.
Isaac said she is meeting soon with Gorton but has not yet made a final decision on who she might back.
Stinnett said he will make an announcement in early June about who he will endorse in November.
"I am still deciding and will make an announcement the week of June 4th," Stinnett said. "Whomever I support, I will work with them to build a better Lexington for all."
Stinnett raised $248,794 during the primary and was supported by many developers and business leaders. That could mean a big financial boon to whomever gets his backing or the support of his donors, Dugi said.
"Clearly Bastin has to firm up his base, generate support from the police and firefighters ... and focus on business and developers," Dugi said.
Gray, who won a second term in a landslide victory in 2014, said he has not decided who he will support in the November general election.
"Of course I'm very interested in seeing the good things we've started continue," Gray said, "but I haven't decided whether I'll endorse in the mayor or council races."
Gray has served with both Bastin and Gorton.
Gorton was vice mayor under Gray. Bastin served as police chief under Gray. The two-term mayor also appointed Bastin as public safety commissioner in 2015.
Still, Bastin's bid to become Lexington's next mayor has been supported by Newberry, who Gray ousted from office in 2010. Newberry, Gray and Bastin are all Barren County natives.
If Bastin were to win in November, he would be third consecutive mayor of Lexington who grew up in Barren County.
Sherelle Pierre, Bastin's campaign manager, declined to say if Bastin is seeking the endorsement of Isaac, Stinnett and Gray.
"We will be open to working with anyone," Pierre said.
Gorton also declined to say whose endorsement she is seeking.
"I'm hoping to get everyone's support that I can get," Gorton said.
She chalks up the win to hard work on the campaign trail, her long tenure in Lexington and her reputation as being fair and transparent.
"We were trying to get all over the city," she said. "I had over 1,000 yard signs. I had walkers out in lots of neighborhoods. We will ramp that up in the fall."
Bastin said his campaign "tried to get the message out to everyone that is willing to listen."
He said his background in public safety helped him advance to the general election as crime continues to be a concern in Lexington.
"I think my bio is an asset," Bastin said. "I think public safety is an area that people have on their minds. We will continue to talk about our cirme plan and focus on other issues in Lexington."