After being called a potential spoiler, independent Jackie Green has withdrawn from the race for mayor of Louisville to endorse Democrat Greg Fischer, who has promised that the bicycle advocate will have “significant input” in selecting a cabinet-level office in his administration.
“Jackie represents an important and growing voice in our community. I appreciate his support, and I look forward to his continued input,” Fischer said in a press release, adding that Green brought important issues to light in the mayor’s race. “I want to establish Louisville as one of America’s greenest cities and Jackie Green — and his many passionate supporters — can help with that vision.”
Earlier today, LEO reported that members of Fischer’s campaign were trying to persuade Green to get out of the race before Election Day. At the time the small business owner told LEO he wasn’t withdrawing, however, he acknowledged there were ongoing discussions with Fischer about adopting parts of his platform if he’ll step down.
In the general election, Fischer has announced plans to create an Office of Sustainability, a department that reports directly to the mayor that would work to make Louisville a greener city. Fischer said he will consult with Green to provide significant input to help structure that office.
The announcement has upset a handful of Green’s supporters, including his campaign staff who weren’t aware of the decision up until it was released to the press.
“I’m a little upset because I wasn’t prefaced to this conversation at all,” says Tyler Hess, Green’s campaign manager. “The Fischer campaign came to us a week ago with this. We got calls from Chris Poynter pressuring us to get out, so the Courier-Journal reporting we came to them had it all backwards. They were salivating at our growing momentum because the voters appreciated his extra voice. Now Greg is changing his platform and it’s unbelievable that this conversation has changed this quickly.”
“I’m disappointed in Jackie, really. I thought he saw through it all and that Fischer wasn’t authentic,” says Curt Morrison, a former Green campaign volunteer. “I think his supporters will split. Some will follow Jackie based on their faith in him. I know Fischer has offered him the world, and others will recognized Heiner is more qualified to be mayor. I’m definitely with Heiner.”
The Fischer campaign says no job was offered to the bicycle advocate directly. In a telephone interview earlier today, however, Green told LEO that he told Fischer’s campaign that he didn’t trust them to appoint someone from their team to the office, and that he or someone should either run or select who operates it.
From WFPL’s The Edit:
“Put real power in that office and let us elect the leadership of that office,” (Green) says. “Us being the Jackie Green for mayor team.”
Before dropping out, LEO received an e-mail from Green that outlined the discussions with Fischer and Republican Hal Heiner, saying that he was seeking to exact commitments from both before ever considering dropping out of the race and endorsing a former rival.
The e-mail goes on to say that the Heiner wanted Green to stay in the race while the Fischer team was “drafting a document that will accomplish this.”
The Heiner campaign says that this development shows desperation on Fischer’s part in the last weeks of a tight mayoral campaign.
“If Greg Fischer has such poor judgment that he believes it’s acceptable to sell a city department of government in exchange for a political endorsement he is clearly unfit to be mayor,” says Joe Burgan, Heiner’s campaign manager.