Louisville Metro Councilman Bob Henderson, D-14, may not run for re-election next year, but the city lawmaker says he won’t make a final decision until a day before the filing deadline.
Speculation about the southwest Louisville councilman’s future has been brewing in City Hall and the community over the past few months with a handful of candidates lining up to either succeed or challenge him in 2012.
Thus far, three residents have filed to fill the District 14 seat. Democrats Earl Yocum, a retired army sergeant and Joel “Mark” Romines, a former truck driver who is currently unemployed, are set to face each other in the May primary. Republican Bob Heuglin, a local realtor, is running unopposed.
Henderson says he won’t make a decision on whether he is seeking re-election until late January in order to evaluable the field of candidates.
“If somebody doesn’t run that has the same desire and vision for southwest Jefferson County, then I’ll run again because I feel like I’ll get elected if I run again. But I feel like it’s time in my life that I’ll make that decision,” he says.
Democrats control the council by a 17-to-9 margin but District 14 is considered a swing area that Republicans could pick up during next year’s general election. In 2010, election results show both Mayor Greg Fischer and U.S. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., lost the district to their respective GOP opponents.
At least one candidate vying for the seat confirms that Henderson has said unequivocally he is retiring, but has handpicked a replacement.
“I’ve been a lifelong of Mr. Henderson’s and was a strong supporter of his. When he informed me he was retiring, I thought about running for the seat,” says Romines, who filed to run last month. “From the understanding I have, he is retiring. And Earl Yocum is basically Mr. Henderson’s candidate. He has been pushing for him and has even introduced him as the next district councilman for the office.”
The 71-year-old Henderson acknowledged he has made public statements that he may retire, but reiterated an official decision has yet to be made. Henderson indicated that a person had stepped up who he thought would be a suitable successor, but he wouldn’t confirm if Yocum was that choice.
“Right now I’ve got somebody that I’m very much interested in running. They’ve already signed up. I would help that individual like he’s been helping me for years,” he says.
In a telephone interview, Yocum told WFPL that Henderson has introduced him to constituents around the district at several meetings as a candidate vying for the seat.