Potential political shifts loom in Lexington’s Urban County Council races, as new candidates file, others demur

by Paul Oliva, The Lexington Times

Author’s note: Shortly after Emma Curtis filed for the 4th District Council seat in early January, an anonymous representative of the Kentucky Young Democrats reached out to The Lexington Times via Instagram direct message to clarify that Emma Curtis is not the President of the Kentucky Young Democrats. Allison Wiseman is President of the Kentucky Young Democrats.

Lexington, KY – Several key developments have emerged this week in the upcoming 2024 Urban County Council races, with two new candidates filing and two incumbent Councilmembers announcing that they will not run for re-election.

Preston Worley and Fred Brown: Conservative Voices Bowing Out

Councilmember Preston Worley, representing District 7, and Councilmember Fred Brown of District 8, announced this week they are not running for re-election. They are widely recognized as two of the more conservative voices on the council. Their impending departures open the door for new candidates to shape the political discourse in their respective districts.

No candidate has filed to run for their respective seats, as of Friday night.

Fred Brown announced his decision in his District 8 newsletter. (District 8 Council Office)

BooneDogs Owner Steps into the Political Arena

In District 12, a notable entry into the political fray is Hilary Boone, proprietor of the popular BooneDogs Bar and Restaurant. Boone’s candidacy comes at a pivotal moment, as incumbent Councilmember Kathy Plomin, who has held the seat since 2016, is not eligible for re-election. Plomin’s tenure began under unusual circumstances – her predecessor resigned mid-campaign, leading to her appointment by then-Mayor Jim Gray in September of the election year.

Hilary Boone (right) in front of his business, BooneDogs. (BooneDogsLex)

Tyler Morton: A Familiar Face Aiming for District 1 Seat

The District 1 race sees the entry of Tyler Morton, previously an aide to incumbent Councilmember Tayna Fogle. This marks Morton’s first foray into electoral politics. Councilmember Fogle, currently in her first term and eligible for re-election, has yet to file her candidacy, as per the latest records from the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance. Morton’s decision to run could indicate a strategic move within the incumbent’s camp or a new direction for the district.

Before serving as Fogle’s legislative aide, Morton interned with Councilmember James Brown when he was the District 1 Councilmember.

Emma Curtis: A Rising Political Star Contemplating District 4 Candidacy

Emma Curtis, known for her bid for the House District 93 seat and her significant political acumen, is reportedly considering a run in District 4. Curtis, VP of Programming and Expansion for the Kentucky Young Democrats, has been actively engaging with the community, as seen in her recent social media activities, including posting selfies of herself out canvassing for an as-of-yet undisclosed candidate, and changing her Instagram handle to include “lex,” indicative of a potential council candidacy. A recent social media interaction with The Lexington Times – an “👀” emoji in response to a story about current District 4 Councilmember Brenda Monarrez’s attendance record – further fuels this speculation.

Monarrez, who has already filed for re-election, missed 27 council meetings this term, a point that could become a focal topic in the upcoming race. Adding to the intrigue, Emma Curtis enjoys widespread support, notably from the late Lamin Swann’s mother during the contentious nomination process for his seat, which the Fayette County Democratic Party leadership eventually awarded to another nominee. Curtis’s potential entry into the race could significantly alter the dynamics, especially with Brack Marquette, Monarrez’s previous opponent, also having filed to run.

Curtis was out canvassing for something Tuesday. (Instagram/emmacurtislex)

Want more insights into the upcoming 2024 council races? The Lexington Times will have a commentary and analysis piece out soon to break down these new developments.

Top photo: Councilmember Preston Worley speaks on the Urban Service Area expansion at the June 1 Committee of the Whole meeting. (LexTV)