The Courier-Journal is endorsing Democrat Greg Fischer and Republican Hal Heiner in their respective primaries in the mayor’s race.

From the Fischer endorsement:

Mr. Fischer, a successful businessman, makes a credible case that he is the candidate best suited to deal with the tight budgets and the need to stress job creation in the coming years.

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Moreover, after some initial confusion about his position, Mr. Fischer has unequivocally endorsed the record of decision on the Ohio River Bridges Project, which calls for simultaneously proceeding on construction of two bridges — one in the eastern part of the county, one downtown — and on a reconfiguration of Spaghetti Junction.

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Ideally, Mr. Fischer would have experience in elective office or public administration. He has neither. But his skill in organizing a campaign, financing it, gaining support from a wide range of individuals and organizations, and drawing up a comprehensive platform reflects qualities that would be well-suited to the top job in City Hall.

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Mr. Fischer’s principal opponents appear to be Metro Council members David Tandy and Jim King.

Mr. Tandy, like Mr. Fischer, has provided voters with a detailed and progressive platform, and his personal style is open and engaging. His campaign, however, has been disappointing. Visibility has been low, and he has not raised money to have a presence on television. It’s unfortunate that such issues become important, but a political reality is that there is often a genuine relationship between ability to run an effective campaign and readiness to perform in high office.

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Mr. King, a successful banker and accountant, has praiseworthy organizational skills, grasp of issues and knowledge of city government. In most circumstances, we would expect him to be a top candidate for mayor. Unfortunately, however, he is burdened with a heavy load of personal and ethical baggage that, in our view, disqualifies him — at least this time around.

From the Heiner endorsement:

His experience in the private and public sectors, as well as his clarity of vision and expression, position him as the best candidate, and he should be the GOP voters’ choice on May 18. Mr. Robertson simply does not have the profile needed to be Mayor, and Mr. Thieneman simply does not possess the gravitas or the communication skills the office demands. Mr. Heiner more than makes up for their lacks in those important areas.

He promises to do the job with a “100 percent” commitment to open and transparent government. He also promises to make job creation his main focus, if elected.

He backs up his talking points with an array of specific suggestions and strategies too numerous to mention here.

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On other issues, Mr. Heiner opposed the library referendum but he says he is not happy with the progress that has occurred in the absence of the tax. He said he will move to implement a master plan, and voters should hold him to that promise if he is elected.

Voters should also know that he says he supports the record of decision in the Ohio River Bridges Project and supports the building of both bridges now.

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He says he is committed to a vibrant core city, not just the suburbs as some voters fear, because a strong core is necessary for attracting new business and jobs.

The Heiner endorsement has fewer digs at the other candidates, though that’s expected with such a crowded Democratic primary. The “This time around” comment about Jim King is worth noting, as are the references to the bridges project in both pieces. The ORBP never became a full-fledged campaign issue for all of the candidates, though with Tyler Allen set to air TV ads about it, it could bubble up again in the next week. Yesterday, in a piece on Tyler Allen, Bridges Coalition chair David Nicklies was quoted saying the next mayor “has to be with” the current bridges plan.

In the Fischer endorsement, the CJ notes his lack of political experience, though credits his campaign and business history as evidence of leadership abilities. The last two mayors of Louisville (Abramson, Armstrong) held previous government offices, and if one of the nominees for either party is not a Metro Councilman, then Louisville could have its first politically new (relatively) mayor in years. We’ve seen a few notable businessmen politicians on the national scene (BloombergRomney) and Louisville certainly has a history of electing mayors who haven’t been in politics for very long, but it will be interesting to see what credentials voters favor in the primaries and general election. It’s also possible that experience won’t have anything to do with it and voters will go for the person and the plan, not the party or history.

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