If the election in November is a referendum on Mayor Jerry Abramson, it’s pretty clear that Republican Hal Heiner and Democrat Greg Fischer are on opposite ends of the spectrum. During the first mayoral forum of the general election, hosted by the Home Builders Association of Louisville, the two major candidates offered different perspectives on the current administration.
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Since city and county governments merged in 2003, Councilman Heiner, R-19, has been a critic of the mayor as a member of the Metro Council. For instance, if elected, the east Louisville Republican has promised to conduct a full audit of the city that will make otherwise closed records open to the public.
“What we need to change is the culture of the old style, the arrogant style of top-down decisions and flip that pyramid completely over,” Heiner said at the debate.
It doesn’t appear Fischer is trying to avoid the Abramson administration, and is willing to compliment the mayor’s quarter century public service record. The criticism that Fischer will be a sequel to Abramson also doesn’t seem to bother the Louisville businessman on the campaign trail.
Earlier this month, it was announced that Fischer had hired Abramson spokesman Chris Poynter to become his campaign spokesman and oversee policy. That move already has political observers speculation about what else Fischer will recycle from the Abramson administration.
Fischer’s coy approach to Abramson made sense in the Democratic primary, where the “Mayor for Life,” is still immensely popular among voters. However, in a general election it’ll be interesting to see if disgruntled voters (moderate Democrats and independents) will note that the rocky last years of the Abramson administration don’t need a continuation.