Calling them “juvenile” and “petty”, Louisville Metro Councilman Jon Ackerson, R-18, is lashing out at his Republican colleagues for endorsing a Tea Party challenger in the upcoming GOP primary.
Six of the eight remaining Republican councilmen publicly support Marilyn Parker over Ackerson and have alleged he sided with Democrats on several issues after receiving preferential treatment during redistricting. Both Ackerson and Democratic leaders deny the allegation, but Republican Caucus Chairman Ken Fleming, R-7 told WFPL Ackerson can’t be trusted with fulfilling the party’s agenda.
Ackerson says he has been a lifelong Republican, but the partisanship that has created gridlock in Washington and Frankfort is now in the council.
“Ken Fleming, our leader here in Jefferson County wants a radical right Tea Party person to serve rather than someone that’s willing to work with not only Republicans but with Democrats on issues of common concern,” he says.
Ackerson says council Republicans are applying a litmus test to being a member of the party and their efforts will backfire. He denied rumors that he plans to switch parties over the endorsement.
But Republican leaders on the council have confirmed the caucus has discussed Ackerson’s activities, but Fleming says the group hasn’t made a decision if they can or will take any disciplinary action.
Ackerson says the endorsement and possible reprimand show council Republicans are more interested in litmus tests than good government.
“I’m not concerned with whatever ‘punishment’ they want to inflict on me. That’s entirely up to their petty call. I have never heard such juvenile talk amongst what’s supposed to be responsible, mature individuals as punishing someone because they don’t vote the way you dictate to them. If they want to send me to the woodshed, let them try,” he says.
Council GOP staff and leaders promise the endorsement won’t hurt their policy initiatives. The Republican caucus is scheduled to meet tomorrow (Thursday