Lexington voters will choose between Linda Gorton, a former vice mayor, and Ronnie Bastin, a former police chief, in the November general election for mayor.
Gorton, 69, was the clear frontrunner in the seven-way race, despite being outspent by Bastin, 61, and Kevin Stinnett, a Lexington councilman. Gorton received nearly 42 percent of the vote compared to Bastin's 25 percent.
Bastin was trailed by former mayor Teresa Isaac, 62, and Stinnett, 44. Also on the ballot were Ike Lawrence, Skip Horine and William Weyman, who ran limited campaigns.
Gorton said Tuesday night she wants to "dream big."
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
"Together we are going to create a vision for an innovative, thriving community, one which excludes no one from our wonderful quality of life here," Gorton said.
Bastin said Tuesday's vote showed that people wanted a "fresh face in city hall."
“You all want a leader who cares about you and your families," he said. "You all want a leader that recognizes the need for a strong economy and good paying jobs. You want a leader with a proven track record of fiscal responsibility, who knows how to make government work more efficiently and for the people."
Bastin raised the most during the primary, with $327,140.99, according to Kentucky Registry of Election Finance reports. Bastin's fundraising total was bolstered by a $110,000 personal loan to his campaign. Stinnett raised $248,794 during the primary. Gorton raised $150,645. Isaac trailed with $32,877.
Stinnett said negative editorials by the Herald-Leader helped contribute to his poor showing.
"We had a lot of negative obstacles to overcome," Stinnett said. "We had a newspaper that was negative and singled me out and tried to attack me. We had an opponent who tried a smear campaign behind the scenes.. I didn't stoop to their levels. "
Stinnett did not name the opponent who allegedly tried to smear him.
Isaac did not make any comments after the results.
Tuesday's primary was the first time an incumbent mayor was not on the ballot since 2002, when Pam Miller decided not to seek a third and final term. Mayor Jim Gray made the same decision, opting instead to run for Congress this year.
No one issue dominated the race. Perennial topics such as growth and development and crime and drug addiction were the most frequently discussed topics, making it difficult for candidates to stand out in the crowded field.
Bastin unveiled a six-point public safety plan in early May that included hiring 40 additional police officers over the next four years, increasing job opportunities for felons and bolstering drug treatment options.
None of the candidates went negative in advertisements or during several public forums.
Bastin and Gorton had the most money left to spend in the weeks leading up to the primary and were able to run television advertisements through Tuesday. Bastin had $58,626 left on May 7. Gorton had $47,476. Isaac had $23,070 and Stinnett had $15,604, campaign finance reports shows.
Gorton was the city's longest serving councilwoman when she retired in 2014. Tuesday's primary was the third time she has run a city-wide campaign. In 2010, she received the most votes in the at-large race and became vice mayor despite being outspent by her opponents.
Prior to her four-year stint as vice mayor, Gorton served a four-year term as an at-large member and four terms as a district council member representing the 4th Council District.
Bastin has spent more then three decades as a police officer and was named chief in 2008. Mayor Jim Gray appointed him public safety commissioner in 2015. Bastin stepped down in January from that position, which oversees police, fire, corrections and 911 operations.
Stinnett is a 14-year council member who chairs the council's budget and finance committee. He will leave office at the end of the year. Prior to winning his current at-large seat in 2014, Stinnett served as the 6th District council member from 2004 to 2014.
Isaac, a lawyer, served as mayor from 2003 to 2007. She has tried two previous times to return to office after losing a bid for a second term in 2006 to Jim Newberry. She placed third in the May 2010 primary against Newberry and Gray. Prior to being mayor, she served six years as vice mayor.
Top two advance
Teresa A. Isaac
Kevin O. Stinnett
Chris Mura, Evan Heichelbech and Rick Childress contributed to this story.