Isaac raising money for 2010 mayoral race

Former Lexington Mayor Teresa Isaac wants her old job back.

On Tuesday, Isaac mailed a letter to the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance informing the registry of her intention to begin raising money for the 2010 mayoral race. The registry received the letter Thursday.

Isaac, 53, was Lexington's mayor from 2003 to 2006. She could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

Isaac was defeated by Mayor Jim Newberry in her re-election bid. She was the first sitting mayor to be defeated by a challenger since the city and county governments merged in 1974.

Newberry has said previously that he has not decided whether he will run for re-election next year. He has said he will make a decision this year, sometime after his budget address in April.

Newberry declined to comment further on Thursday, said Susan Straub, his spokeswoman.

Newberry carried close to two-thirds of the vote in 2006, receiving nearly 20,000 more votes than Isaac. He had the greatest margin in terms of total votes for any elected mayor in merged government history.

Isaac is an astute politician, said Bill Farmer Jr., a former Urban County Councilman who had a failed mayoral bid in 2006.

"Everybody has a chance. That's how politics work. If you've got the right message and the right method at the right time, anybody can get elected," Farmer said. "If this is the right time for her, I'm doubtful because I don't hear the outcry for change like we heard four years ago."

It's unclear who else might be joining next year's mayoral race.

Some think Vice Mayor Jim Gray is positioning himself for a mayoral run, but Gray declined to comment Thursday when asked if he planned to seek the position. He has been vocal and critical on issues such as the proposed CentrePointe development and the expense scandal at Blue Grass Airport.

Gray ran a failed mayoral bid in 2002 in which he was defeated during the primary by Isaac and Scott Crosbie.

Since leaving office, Isaac has been active in the state political scene, working as a part-time paid staffer on Bruce Lunsford's failed gubernatorial campaign in 2007. She has also been teaching as an adjunct professor at several Kentucky colleges.

During Isaac's term as mayor, the city implemented the first smoking ban in the state. She was also mayor when the city attempted to condemn Kentucky American Water using eminent domain.

Isaac was often at odds with the Urban County Council, especially former Vice Mayor Mike Scanlon. During her four years, she issued six vetoes. The council overrode all but one.

Isaac's final veto, which came within the final two weeks of her term, was her only veto that wasn't overturned. She disagreed with the council's attempt to weaken the city's anti-nepotism law.

Before becoming mayor, Isaac had served nine years on the Urban County Council.