Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer is preparing to announce whether he will seek a second term or not.
In December, Fischer balked at questions on running for re-election in 2014. At the time, there were rumors he was considering a bid for Kentucky’s U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.
Fischer told WFPL earlier this year he wasn’t interested in challenging McConnell and was leaning towards running for a second term as mayor. He initially said a decision would be announced this summer, but now he says he’s moved the announcement up to this month.
“We’ll be making an announcement on that sometime in April, but I’m in the final stages of making that decision,” he says.
Sources in the Fischer administration are giving conflicting messages, however. A top city official in the mayor’s office has said the mayor plans to seek re-election while another Fischer adviser told the radio station this week they are uncertain if the mayor is interested in a second term.
Fischer admits his intentions are being based in part on the remaining campaign debt from the 2010 mayoral race.
“That’s the type of thing I’ll be thinking about over the next couple of weeks or so, and be deciding that all soon though,” says Fischer. “I think it’s in the neighborhood of $100,000 to $150,000.”
A spokesperson with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance says Fischer’s remaining debt is well over a quarter of a million dollars.
Campaign finance records show the mayor’s primary campaign account has a debt of $54,000 and a general election debt of $252,000, and has only paid off about $50,000 in the past two and a half years.
“For Mr. Fischer to transfer forward any of the remaining balances in those campaign accounts to use in a future year election he would need to assume the debt from these accounts,” says KREF spokeswoman Emily Dennis.
The discrepancy could be due to Fischer still raising campaign funds to pay off the date that won’t be reflected until in the November 2013 finance report. Fischer’s campaign is expected to file that report with the KREF by June 30.
In 2011, Fischer received criticism for recouping his campaign debt while in office including from donors who were doing business with the city.
The mayor and his associates were also accused of misusing campaign funds raised expressly for Fischer’s inaugural celebration to pay down the debt incurred, but those charges were dismissed last month.
Fischer Inaugural Committee Co-Chair Tommy Elliot, however, did receive a $500 civil fine.