LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- A Metro Council member running as an independent will remain on November's ballot as a candidate in the 6th District race.
A hearing was held Wednesday in Jefferson County circuit court challenging the number of signatures on Councilman Deonte Hollowell's nominating petition.
"Given that one can make a valid argument either way, I have to choose that which gives people the most choice," said Judge Charles Cunningham.
"We're just happy that the judge ruled in our favor and he's allowed to be on this ballot for November," said Derwin Webb, Hollowell's attorney.
Attorneys for William Clark, a 6th District voter who filed the lawsuit, said according to a Kentucky revised statute, an independent running for Metro Council must have at least 20 signatures on his or her nominating petition. Hollowell only had two.
"The statute we keep referring to, basically, this government has the powers of a county and a city, and it specifically says in there you have the greater powers of the lesser restrictions. The lesser restriction in this case, 20 or 2, and the lesser restriction would be 2, so somebody could run for this office," said Assistant County Attorney Patrick Mulvihill.
"I understand the judge's ruling that he believed that the statute was subject to interpretation and then in the interest of keeping Mr. Hollowell on the ballot, he chose to go with two signatures, which Hollowell had and we understand the judge's ruling and will take that into consideration," said Jennifer Moore, Clark's attorney.
Moore would refer only to her client as a political activist working in the 6th District.
Webb called the lawsuit "politics."
"We know he's been barraged with some things recently so we don't expect this to be the last thing," Webb said.
The hearing comes shortly after a report first publicized by a local blogger revealed that Hollowell was found with marijuana when he was arrested on a bench warrant for speeding last year.
"Politics are politics. This is the political season and we know that during the political season, things come up," Webb said.
Hollowell declined to talk to WLKY after the hearing.
Following the death of Metro Councilman George Unseld, the council took 34 ballots at a June meeting to decide on Hollowell as a compromise candidate to fill the seat.
Attorneys for Clark have five days to appeal the judge's ruling.
- October 5, 2010: Report: Drugs Seized During 2009 Hollowell Arrest
- July 1, 2010: Hollowell: Safety Is No. 1 Priority
- July 1, 2010: Metro Council Elects Hollowell To 6th District Seat