Jewish candidate who escaped shooting clinches Democratic nod for Louisville mayor

Craig Greenberg beats out crowded field, promises to improve city safety, months after social justice activist opened fire at him but narrowly missed

Louisville, Ky., mayoral candidate Craig Greenberg arrives to vote in the state's primary election, Tuesday, May 17, 2022, at the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. (AP/Piper Hudspeth Blackburn)
Louisville, Ky., mayoral candidate Craig Greenberg arrives to vote in the state's primary election, Tuesday, May 17, 2022, at the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. (AP/Piper Hudspeth Blackburn)

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (AP) — Craig Greenberg has won the Democratic primary for mayor of Louisville, months after surviving a shooting attempt in Kentucky’s largest city.

A Jewish businessman, Greenberg beat out a crowded field of eight candidates in Tuesday’s primary to secure the nomination, campaigning on pledges to improve public safety and restore transparency and confidence in the city’s government.

He will be buoyed in November by the Democrats’ heavy numerical advantage over Republicans in Louisville, and already was expressing confidence as he looked forward to the general election.

At his victory celebration, Greenberg told cheering supporters that he would “work with everyone all across Louisville so that every family, every person has a safe neighborhood in which to live, an equitable opportunity to succeed and strong education to pursue their dreams.”

Greenberg has said the shooting attempt February during the primary campaign only strengthened his determination for the need to quell gun violence in the city.

A local social justice activist was charged in connection with the shooting and remains in federal custody.

Current Mayor Greg Fischer is ending his third four-year term.

The ultimate winner of the mayoral race will have to steer Louisville through a spike in gun violence, the ongoing pandemic, and the prospect that Louisville could face a $70 million budget shortfall by 2024. Many residents are still reeling from the March 2020 death of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman shot in her apartment during a botched police raid.

Louisville’s police department remains under federal investigation and many of the city’s residents want to see improvements in public safety.

A man walks past broken and boarded up windows at a CVS store in downtown Louisville, Ky., June 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

In March, a jury acquitted the only police officer criminally charged in the Taylor raid, leaving many activists in the city with the feeling that the city’s justice system had failed Taylor and her family. “We demand the truth, we demand transparency,” Bianca Austin, Taylor’s aunt, said at a memorial in March for her niece’s death.

Tensions flared anew in the city in February when Greenberg was shot at but escaped unharmed from the attack at a campaign office. One staffer managed to shut the door, which they barricaded using tables and desks, and the suspect fled. Greenberg was not hit, but he said a bullet grazed his sweater.

This photo provided by Louisville Metro Department of Corrections shows Quintez Brown. (Louisville Metro Department of Corrections via AP)

The suspect in the shooting, Quintez Brown, 22, has been charged with “interfering with a federally protected right, and using and discharging a firearm in relation to a crime of violence by shooting at and attempting to kill a candidate for elective office. He remains in federal custody.

If convicted of all federal charges, Brown faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison in addition to any sentence he receives on state charges of attempted murder and wanton endangerment. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Federal prosecutors have alleged that Brown, a former editorial columnist for the Courier Journal, wanted to kill Greenberg to prevent him from winning the mayoral race, citing Brown’s internet search history, text messages, and online posts around the time of the February shooting.

Greenberg helped start Louisville-based 21c Museum Hotels, building the company to more than 1,100 employees. The company is credited with helping revive Main Street in downtown Louisville and other urban neighborhoods across the country.

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