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What does Louisville's mayoral race look like after David James suspends campaign?

A day after James' announcement, Barbara Sexton Smith said she will chair Louisville businessman Craig Greenberg's campaign.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — After Metro Council President David James announced he was suspending his campaign due to health issues, one former council member is jumping in the mayoral race — but she's not running for office.

Former council member Barbara Sexton Smith, a woman many thought might run for mayor, announced she will chair Louisville businessman Craig Greenberg's campaign.

"Many of you all have asked me to run for mayor, and I seriously considered it, but now I get the chance to do what I do best, and that is lead campaigns," Sexton Smith said.

In a video posted on social media, Sexton Smith called Greenberg "the guy that can lead us to the change that is real."

Greenberg announced his candidacy in April, saying he felt he can unite the city following a difficult 2020 that made him realize it was time to get involved in the mayoral race.

"When we had the challenges of the past year with the pandemic, with the tragedy of Breonna Taylor's death, I really felt compelled that now is my time to get more involved in public service and to run for mayor to try to unify our community and move us forward," Greenberg said in his first television interview following the announcement.

Sexton Smith says she thought about the offer to help lead Greenberg's campaign for months after he gave her a phone call. She said she thought about it and felt like it was her 'calling.'

"I thought 'oh my word! The weight of the world lifted off my shoulders' because I knew Craig sincerely in that moment that our city would be in good hands," she said. "It would be a city with a brighter future."

At least four people have announced their run in the democratic primary, including community activist Shameka Parrish-Wright, pastor Tim Findley and Jeffersontown mayor Bill Dieruf.

James was one of the best known candidates in the primary, but said Sunday night he felt it would be disingenuous to continue fundraising as he undergoes a second surgery this year.

"Whether I'm in the race or not, I want Louisville to do the very best they can," James said Monday. "I love this city and I love everybody in it."

RELATED: Metro Council President David James suspends mayoral campaign citing 'health reasons'

RELATED: How Breonna Taylor protests could impact Louisville's mayoral race

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