Seen as a possible spoiler in the Louisville mayor's race, Independent candidate Jackie Green is negotiating his endorsement with Democratic candidate Greg Fischer.
"It's going to take greater agreement," Green said when asked about the negotiations on Friday, "We are drafting documents right now to see if we can get to that point of agreement."
The Fischer campaign also confirmed the negotations.
Green - whose campaign is focused on public transit and environmental issues - has also approached the campaign of Republican Hal Heiner, but Green has told his supporters that the Heiner campaign wants him to stay in the race.
Like Green Party candidate Ralph Nader in the 2000 presidential election, Jackie Green is polling at about three percent in the mayoral race. And like Nader, it's believed that Green is more likely to siphon off support from Democrats rather than Republicans.
"Greg and I - and I have had conversations with Hal also about his positions and where I wanted to see him coming from - Greg and I do not see eye to eye at this point on public transit. We do not see eye to eye at this point on greenfield development," Green said.
But Green confirms that he and Fischer have met face to face several times to negotiate terms of his endorsement, including a meeting Friday morning before the Advertising Federation debate between Heiner and Fischer.
Green told WHAS11 that he wants assurances that Fischer's Office of Sustainability would have real authority and Green wants to choose who Fischer hires to head that department, possibly Green himself.
"Apparently Greg Fischer has found it so difficult to win votes he’s now resorting to wheeling and dealing Metro salaries for endorsements," said Heiner campaign manager Hal Heiner, "Louisville deserves an open, honest and accountable government that works for the people, not the benefit of a political campaign."
Fischer spokesman Chris Poynter, who Green says was present for a lengthy negotiation meeting, says Green has not been offerered a job.
In an e-mail to his supporters, Green laid out his demands:
Green camp needs:
1) the Fischer campaign to publicly
a) prioritize public transit as a higher priority than new interstate highway infrastructure and
b) commit to limiting greenfield development to projects that are so large that they cannot physically be placed in a local brownfield
2) Fischer to publicly commit to giving
a) the Office of Sustainability the staffing, authority and funding sufficient to make it successful and
b) the Green team the opportunity to elect the leadership of that Office.
The reason we have outlined an either/or position with the Fischer camp...... As of this moment, the drafts forwarded have not met the requirements. We continue to work on it while we continue the campaign on buses, on streets, in the media, in groups, in forums (invited & excluded), etc..
If we are granted #1, then the public will hold the Fischer administration to the statement.
If we are not granted #1, but are granted #2, then the leadership elected by the Green team will hold the Fischer administration to standards (we are not convinced that the Fischer advisers have to date, as illustrated by the Fischer campaign material & statements, internalized these significant issues sufficiently).
If we are not granted #1 or #2, then the three candidate race continues.
The reason we have outlined an either/or position with the Fischer camp......
As of this moment, the drafts forwarded have not met the requirements. We continue to work on it while we continue the campaign on buses, on streets, in the media, in groups, in forums (invited & excluded), etc..
With Green watching the debate on Friday, Fischer used an opportunity to question Heiner directly to raise the issue of public transit. Green approved.
"Greg made a very strong statement today," Green said, "This is the strongest I've heard, this is the strongest statement that I've heard out of Greg relative to public transit. I applaud that. I encourage it. Is that enough? We have work to do yet."
WHAS11 asked Green if he thinks Fischer has changed his message as a result of Green's influence and conversations.
"Greg's message is changing," Green said, "I've seen Hal's message change too, not only on public transit, but on other issues."
"At no point in this race has the Heiner campaign modified or adopted policy for the purposes of influencing endorsements," said Joe Burgan, Heiner's campaign manager, "Hal’s policy is based on what is best for Louisville and will not change for the sake of political expediency."
Fischer's spokesman says Green has brought "important and valuable perspective to the mayor's race and to the future of our city."
Despite his negotiations with Fischer, Green told WHAS11, "Both of these gentlemen will serve this community equally well."
"Our first objective in this race was to change the conversation. That happened in January," Green continued, "Our second objective was to change their platforms. They're moving them. They are not moving far enough. They are not moving fast enough, but they're moving. This is very promising. This is very good for Louisville. I will continue to advocate their shifting of positions. And if we can get on the same page, I will be a good team member on their team."