After initially being barred from another debate, independent Jackie Green has been invited to today’s mayoral forum at the downtown Marriott, which is being sponsored by the Greater Louisville Hotel and Lodging Association. Last month, the group’s luncheon featured only Republican Hal Heiner and Democrat Greg Fischer, and its president said Green would be scheduled separately for a meeting in October.
However, the Green campaign turned that offer down and after petitioning the lodging professionals to open the forum up to hear their platform, the group’s board acquiesced. The forum is scheduled for noon and the candidates will take questions from the audience.
“I was surprised they had not changed their minds earlier,” says Green, a bicycle advocate. “I’m the only voice that’s providing an alternative from the other two major parties, and to shut out that voice keeps ideas off the table and is unacceptable.”
In June, LEO Weekly reported that Green was barred from the first general election debate and had Metro Police stop him from entering the building, though he was later allowed inside. The Heiner campaign was quick to say that Green’s treatment was unjust while Fischer never responded to our questions.
However, when The Courier-Journal ran a piece on Green’s exclusion from the discussion, the Democratic candidate said the decision should be left up the debate organizers.
It’s clear that Fischer isn’t eager to have Green attend these debates and the data collected in the first mayoral poll released yesterday may indicate why. What has caught most political observer’s attention is that among Democratic voters, 21 percent are supporting Heiner despite the Fischer campaign’s attempts to paint him as an extremist.
However, a closer look at the numbers shows that Green’s candidacy has support amongst residents who would usually vote Democratic. For instance, amongst voters who identify as “liberal” 72 percent support Fischer and nine percent are for Green. There’s no telling if Green’s percentage of progressive voters would automatically go to Fischer or Heiner, who has 16 percent of “liberals” but there’s speculation amongst the local punditry that Green could be having an impact.