After four hours of mostly closed-door deliberations, a Jefferson County Democratic Party executive committee selected former Fraternal Order of Police president David James as the tentative candidate to run for the 6th District Metro Council seat in the general election.
Last month, the seat that was declared vacant after the sudden death of George Unseld. It is currently held by University of Louisville professor Deonte Hollowell, a registered independent, who was appointed by the council on June 30.
After several hours of gridlock, the council compromised with Hollowell, but that did not please Democratic party officials, who believe the council should have fulfilled its promise to keep the seat in the party fold.
James is a 49-year-old registered Democrat, and currently serves as a lieutenant with the University of Louisville campus police department. The former Louisville Metro Police officer had previously applied to fill the seat in June, but was declared ineligible after the Jefferson County Attorney’s office found he had not lived in the district long enough.
In an interview with LEO Weekly, James told the newspaper he has lived in the district since August 3, 2009 and believes his residency isn’t a concern going forward. After James was selected, however, Democratic Party chairman Tim Longmeyer told the committee their nominee will be vetted before being put on the ballot.
There is speculation that if James’ residency is in question, a lawsuit could be filed disqualifying him from running this fall. In order to run on November 2, all candidates must file with the Jefferson County Clerk’s office by August 10.
During the meeting, which was held in executive session during most of the evening, party officials also interviewed and considered nominating other candidates including former council candidate Ken Herndon, who narrowly lost a primary race to Unseld in 2008, attorney Neeka Parks-Thompson, a former state government employee, attorney Keith Hunter, a close friend of Unseld’s and 25-year-old Phillip Baker, an insurance salesman, who almost received the nomination in the first two votes the committee took.
Earlier this week, Hollowell filed his paperwork to seek election to the seat as an independent. The Jefferson County Republican Party will meet next Tuesday to choose a candidate.