Louisville mayoral candidates split public safety endorsements

08/18/2010 06:14 PM

LOUISVILLE — Two of the largest public safety unions in Louisville cancelled out each other’s political endorsements in the mayor’s race on Wednesday.

Republican Hal Heiner won the backing of the Fraternal Order of Police and Democratic candidate Greg Fischer picked up the endorsement of the Louisville Professional Firefighters and Louisville Federation of Retired Firefighters.

The FOP unanimously selected Heiner for their endorsement after conducting a second round of interviews for the general election. During a news conference on Wednesday, Heiner called the FOP endorsement “the most important one” in Louisville.

Sgt. Dave Mutchler, president of the Louisville FOP, said Fischer’s support of current police chief Robert White hurt Fischer’s chance of endorsement. Mutchler called Fischer’s backing of White “puzzling.”

Saying that the police union was “sprinting as fast as they can from the current (mayor’s) administration,” Mutchler said that Fischer’s support of White could be seen as a sign of continuity with Mayor Jerry Abramson’s rocky relationship with the union.

Heiner also took the opportunity to layout some of his plans for the police department if elected mayor, including permanent street crime divisions.

Fischer downplayed the FOP’s decision to endorse his opponent during his own news conference later that day to announce the firefighter’s endorsement of him.

In Fischer’s news conference, the firefighters re-affirmed their support of the Democrat, who they endorsed in the primary.

Unlike the FOP endorsement, the firefighter’s union didn’t do a second round of interviews for the general election, relying on their interviews from the primary. The firefighter’s didn’t endorse a Republican during the primaries, but did give $1,000 to Heiner through its political action committee. Craig Willman, president of the Louisville Professional Firefighters association, explained his union’s decision on not doing a second round of interviews.

Heiner called the firefighter’s decision “disappointing.”

Fischer also rebuffed Heiner’s claim that the FOP endorsement was the most important, saying his support from different groups “dwarfed” any Heiner endorsements.

-Reporting and video production by Kenny Colston


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