By Andy Mead – firstname.lastname@example.org
If you were undecided on Monday about who to vote for in the Lexington mayor’s race, Meadowthorpe Cafe would have been a good place to have lunch.
Both Vice Mayor Jim Gray and Mayor Jim Newberry ate and campaigned at the Leestown Road restaurant as part of their last busy day of trying to pick up votes.
Newberry had the meat loaf with green beans. Gray had bean soup and corn bread. Their paths didn’t cross.
The inexpensive lunches provided a contrast to what has been the most expensive local race in the city’s history — and one of the most hotly contested.
Each candidate has raised more than $1 million: Gray’s total at the last campaign finance reporting date, two weeks before Tuesday’s election, was $1.2 million, including $480,000 he loaned his campaign. Newberry’s total was $1,050,000.
Newberry has portrayed Gray as a “do-nothing” vice mayor who doesn’t show up for meetings and has no legislative accomplishments. Gray accused Newberry’s administration of spending improprieties and blamed the mayor for higher water bills.
Newberry said voters seldom mention Gray’s charges and television ads as he goes door-to-door, but “when they mention it it’s their disappointment that so many of them have been false. I think they may well work to my benefit.”
Likewise, Gray said people never mention Newberry’s “do nothing” charge.
“What they talk about, care about is jobs, wasteful spending and their water bills,” Gray said.
Both candidates started their day at a Salvation Army Christmas Breakfast, but didn’t speak to each other.
Gray spent part of his day campaigning in Urban County Council District 1 with Andrea James, who has endorsed him. James is not seeking re-election.
Newberry attended a rally at Blue Grass Airport for Jack Conway, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate. Over the weekend, he had attended a rally for Rand Paul, the Republican nominee.
The mayor’s race is non-partisan. Gray and Newberry are both registered Democrats.