Independent mayoral candidate Jackie Green‘s decision to withdraw from the race and endorse Democratic candidate Greg Fischer was surprising. Even members of Green’s staff were caught off guard.
The endorsement came at the end of the weekly news cycle: 6:30 on Friday. Monday, Republican candidate Hal Heiner criticized Fischer’s methods for securing the endorsement, and asked the candidates to release any documents they traded in the days leading up to the announcement. Heiner says Fischer effectively gave Green a degree of control over a (currently nonexistent) metro office in exchange for his support. The Fischer campaign says if Fischer wins, Green will advise the administration on the creation of an Office of Sustainability. Green previously told WFPL he wanted the office to have “real power” in Metro Government and he wanted his campaign team to choose the office’s leadership.
Heiner called the endorsement agreement a “backroom deal.” That reflects previous jabs Heiner has taken at Fischer. In a debate at Bellarmine, Heiner accused his opponent of meeting with current Metro Government employees to discuss a potential Fischer administration. Fischer said he wanted to learn about how various city departments work. When Police Chief Robert White was looking for other jobs, Fischer said he would keep the chief on staff. Heiner blasted Fischer for making personnel decisions during a campaign.
The Heiner campaign highlights the e-mail conversations that took place between Green and the Fischer campaign, which indicates that the environmental activist had entered into written negotiations about turning over authority to the new office in exchange for his political support.
The Heiner campaign points out that such agreements are against state law, which says that candidates are prohibited from making promises or contracts in consideration for support. According to the statuette, any person who knowingly violates that provisions could be guilty of a Class D felony.
Last week, the Courier-Journal called Green a potential spoiler in the mayor’s race. We wondered how likely that was, and how likely Green’s voters might be to vote for another candidate. Green will still be on the ballot, and a few supporters say they will still vote for him.