Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear endorses Democrat Craig Greenberg to be Louisville's next mayor

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (right) endorsed Craig Greenberg (left) in the Louisville mayoral election Friday, June 24, 2022, during a visit to the Jefferson Green Apartments.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (right) endorsed Craig Greenberg (left) in the Louisville mayoral election Friday, June 24, 2022, during a visit to the Jefferson Green Apartments.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said Friday he is endorsing Craig Greenberg to be Louisville's next mayor.

While not the most shocking announcement, given both men are Democrats, the backing from the commonwealth's leader adds to the numerous endorsements Greenberg has received as he seeks to beat his Republican opponent, Jeffersontown Mayor Bill Dieruf, in November's general election.

Beshear shared his endorsement Friday afternoon in Louisville while with Greenberg and other officials at Jefferson Green Apartments, an affordable and mixed-income housing development near Jefferson Mall featuring over 300 units and an additional 200-plus units under construction via LDG Development.

The governor called Greenberg an “innovator” and “problem solver” and said they knew one another from their days practicing law.

"He is doing this for the right reasons, and he is ready. Ready to address the challenges that are in front of us, and the other thing he's ready to do is listen," said Beshear, who won the gubernatorial election over former Gov. Matt Bevin in 2019 and is running for a second term next year. "… This city is really important to me, and its leadership is really important to me."

Greenberg expressed thanks to Beshear for the endorsement and said he looks forward, if elected, to working "very closely" with the governor on numerous issues.

"There's a lot of work to do, but there's a lot of opportunity ahead," Greenberg said.

A key issue in the city and big question for political candidates has been how to increase Louisville's affordable housing stock and help those who are homeless.

If elected, Greenberg has said he wants to build 15,000 affordable housing units in his first term to chip away at its shortage of roughly 31,000 needed, affordable homes.

Related: 7 ways Louisville's next mayor can help solve the city's affordable housing shortage

Dieruf did not immediately comment Friday on Beshear's endorsement of Greenberg.

Greenberg, Beshear condemn ruling overturning Roe v. Wade

The Friday afternoon tour came a few hours after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down its landmark Roe v. Wade ruling from 1973 that established abortion as a constitutional right.

Beshear and Greenberg each condemned the ruling, echoing what they said in statements earlier in the morning following the Supreme Court announcement.

The governor in a tweet called Kentucky's trigger law that now takes effect an "extremist" act that "will eliminate all options for victims of rape or incest."

Greenberg said in a statement earlier in the morning that "some women in our city will lose their lives because of this decision" and that if elected mayor, he "will pledge that our city’s police will not be the enforcement arm of a ban on reproductive healthcare, be it abortion or other medical decisions."

Dieruf, meanwhile, said in a statement Friday he is "choosing to leave the decision-making on this issue in the hands of the state and federal elected officials who have the ability in their roles to affect legislation related to abortion."

Greenberg, 48, is an attorney by training and co-owner of Ohio Valley Wrestling who previously served as CEO of 21c Museum Hotels in addition to roles on boards for several local organizations.

Greenberg speaks out on city violence

One of his campaign mantras has been to create a "safer, stronger" Louisville, focusing on "fully funding" the Louisville Metro Police Department while supporting public education and economic development.

The issue of violent crime in Louisville became personal for Greenberg after he survived a February shooting at his Butchertown campaign office in which police said Quintez Brown, who was a University of Louisville student and ex-Courier Journal intern, fired shots at Greenberg and several campaign staff.

No one was injured, though a bullet grazed Greenberg's sweater. Brown has been charged at both the state and federal levels, with his court cases ongoing.

Greenberg beat seven other Democratic mayoral candidates in the May primary by receiving about 41% of the vote. Dieruf, mayor of suburban Jeffersontown since 2020, earned about 78% of the vote to top the four-candidate GOP field.

Local news: Inside University of Louisville Hospital, staff see how bullets 'crush' victims, families

After announcing his candidacy in April 2021, Greenberg received a slew of endorsements leading up to the primary from several Metro Council members, former elected officials, businesspeople and labor unions.

His campaign also vastly outraised the field, with a May finance report showing he received over $1.4 million in donations and spent roughly $1.2 million before the primary, more than all of his competitors combined.

Greenberg and Dieruf are vying to replace Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, who is limited by law from running for a fourth term. Fischer, a Democrat, took office in 2011.

Louisville has not elected a Republican mayor since 1965, when Kenneth Schmied took office.

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This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear endorses Craig Greenberg Louisville mayor