Republican Bill Dieruf, Democrat Craig Greenberg win Louisville mayoral primary elections

·6 min read

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The November matchup to decide Louisville's next mayor is set, with Craig Greenberg and Bill Dieruf winning the Democratic and Republican primary elections Tuesday.

Dieruf won 78% of the vote in the four-candidate Republican field as of 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to the Jefferson County Clerk's Office.

Greenberg received 41% of the vote to beat out seven other Democrats running for mayor, with 99% of the votes counted, per the clerk's office.

The runner-ups in the Republican and Democratic races were Chartrael Hall and Shameka Parrish-Wright, respectively.

Hall, a minister at Quinn Chapel AME Church, life coach and motivational speaker who also played professional basketball overseas, had received 11% of votes, according to the clerk's office.

Parrish-Wright, a co-chair of the Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression and manager of the Louisville Bail Project, had received 22% of votes.

Dieruf, 66, has been the mayor of suburban Jeffersontown since 2010, and Greenberg, 48, is the former CEO of 21C Museum Hotels and co-owner of Ohio Valley Wrestling.

Both men are competing to succeed Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, a Democrat who is limited by law from running for a fourth term after taking office in 2011.

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The next mayor will take office in January, following the Nov. 8 general election.

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

While the primary field featured several candidates of color and one woman, one thing is now certain ahead of November's election: Louisville's next mayor will be like all of the city's previous mayors — a white man.

Jeffersontown mayor and Louisville republican mayoral candidate Bill Dieruf talks with supporters at his watch party at O'Shea's Irish Pub on Baxter Ave. May 17, 2022
Jeffersontown mayor and Louisville republican mayoral candidate Bill Dieruf talks with supporters at his watch party at O'Shea's Irish Pub on Baxter Ave. May 17, 2022

Dieruf led all GOP candidates in fundraising during the campaign, with a Kentucky Registry of Election Finance report this month showing he had raised more than $370,000 and spent nearly $125,000 since announcing his bid in June 2021. 

Dieruf had served as a city council member in Jeffersontown starting in 2000 before rising to the mayor’s office a decade later. He previously owned Dieruf Hardware, the oldest family-run business in Jeffersontown that opened in 1946 and is managed today by Dieruf’s daughter and son-in-law.

Greenberg, 48, who announced his mayoral bid in April 2021, built and sustained a sizable fundraising advantage over all other candidates during the campaign, with notable contributions coming from a new campaign committee spending six figures on ads supporting him this year.

Mayoral candidate Craig Greenberg, second from left, took a selfie with his wife Rachel and their sons  Benjamin, 16, and Daniel, 19, far right, at the C2 Event Venue after winning the Democratic primary election in Louisville, Ky. on May 17, 2022.
Mayoral candidate Craig Greenberg, second from left, took a selfie with his wife Rachel and their sons Benjamin, 16, and Daniel, 19, far right, at the C2 Event Venue after winning the Democratic primary election in Louisville, Ky. on May 17, 2022.

That committee, Forward Together, received large checks from members of the influential Brown family.

According to a Kentucky Registry of Election Finance filing earlier this month, Greenberg’s campaign reported taking in over $1.4 million in donations and spending roughly $1.2 million during the campaign, more than all of his competitors combined.

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Greenberg also ran a handful of online and television ads, with the spots often mentioning his repeated goal of creating a “safer, stronger" Louisville.

One TV ad featured Greenberg’s wife discussing how she feared for her husband after Quintez Brown, a former Courier Journal intern, University of Louisville student and activist, fired shots at him inside the campaign’s Butchertown office in February. (Dieruf later said Brown had also searched his name online before the shooting.)

Greenberg also received endorsements ahead of the primary from several labor unions, a handful of Metro Council members and former Mayor Harvey Sloane, among others.

On Tuesday, Dieruf held an election night party at O'Shea's on Baxter Avenue, while Greenberg's party was about two miles to the west at the C2 Event Venue on Breckinridge Street.

"We are ready to take this community where you're proud of what you live in and you want to tell everybody to move here," Dieruf told his cheering supporters inside O'Shea's.

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"The way I look at is the last 12 years as mayor, I’ve had both Republicans and Democrats vote for me because I have been a nonpartisan mayor," Dieruf told The Courier Journal later Tuesday night in a phone interview, adding that people from both parties have told him "it's time we put a person in there who can do what Louisville needs and forget about the party."

Dieruf, thanking his volunteers and supporters, also said that come Jan. 1, "the train has got to be moving."

"We can't afford to lose another year of somebody trying to learn how to steer the ship," Dieruf said. "We have to have somebody who has already been at the wheel."

To cheers and fist pumps, Greenberg said right after 9 p.m. Tuesday that it was "getting late, but it sure looks like we’re gonna be the Democratic nominee."

The crowd of about 150 people in the C2 Event Venue erupted in cheers and claps.

Surrounded by green — green clothes, lanyards, stickers, balloons and lights — supporters pumped their fists and waved "Greenberg for Mayor" signs.

Greenberg also thanked his primary opponents and called for unity going forward for those voters who supported others this election.

Mayoral candidate Craig Greenberg was joined on stage by family and supporters at the C2 Event Venue after winning the Democratic primary election in Louisville, Ky. on May 17, 2022.
Mayoral candidate Craig Greenberg was joined on stage by family and supporters at the C2 Event Venue after winning the Democratic primary election in Louisville, Ky. on May 17, 2022.

"My administration will work with everyone all across Louisville so that every family, every person has a safe neighborhood in which to live [and] equitable opportunities...and strong education to pursue their dreams," Greenberg said.

He added that he plans to reach out to the other candidates “who have each given of themselves to our city that we love.”

“I think all of us here tonight agree that our city is in great need of repair," he concluded. "It's in need of repair, revitalization, unity, energy, a sense of urgency and most of all, action."

Parrish-Wright, the second place finisher on the Democratic side who was seeking to Louisville's first Black mayor and first female mayor, said in a statement she was "so proud of my team and grateful for what they’ve done."

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"To be outspent 20 to 1 but finish a strong second place shows how hard we worked and how hungry for change this city is," Parrish-Wright said. "It’s clear no one will win the mayor’s race in November without showing up and delivering for the thousands of people who voted for us. We have to get there together."

Hall, who like Parrish-Wright was also one of the Black candidates seeking to make history, congratulated Dieruf and Greenberg for advancing.

"My team gave it all we had and we thank everyone who believed and supported our campaign," Hall said in a statement. "It’s tough to lose but I truly feel we won. So many are inspired to get into government and the next generations are getting more involved." 

2022 Louisville mayoral primary election results

Here are the results from the county clerk's office for each primary, as of of 9:45 p.m. Tuesday:

Republicans

  1. Bill Dieruf - 78%

  2. Chartrael Hall - 11%

  3. Rob Reishman - 6%

  4. Philip Molestina - 5%

Democrats

  1. Craig Greenberg - 41%

  2. Shameka Parrish-Wright - 22%

  3. David Nicholson - 17%

  4. Tim Findley Jr. - 15%

  5. Sergio Lopez - 2%

  6. Colin Hardin - 1%

  7. Skylar Graudick - 1%

  8. Anthony Oxendine - 0.4%

Sarah Ladd contributed to this story, which has been updated.

Reach Billy Kobin at bkobin@courierjournal.com.

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Craig Greenberg, Bill Dieruf win 2022 Louisville mayoral primaries