Chris Thieneman in a YouTube video accusing Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell, LMPD Chief Steve Conrad and Mayor Greg Fischer of a cover-up in the Youth Explorer scandal. | Via Screenshot

Chris Thieneman filed to run as an independent candidate for mayor of Louisville just before the final deadline on Tuesday afternoon, fulfilling his vow from May to do so unless Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell lost his primary election or Mayor Greg Fischer fired Louisville Metro Police Department Chief Steve Conrad.

In May, Thieneman had asserted that O’Connell, Fischer and Conrad attempted to cover up the LMPD’s Youth Explorer sexual abuse scandal. He occasionally followed the county attorney with a mobile billboard and live Facebook videos making the same accusation, with O’Connell twice snapping back at him by bringing up his past legal troubles.

At the time, Thieneman said that if O’Connell won his primary — which he did the next day — and Conrad wasn’t fired, “then I’m going to put all of my effort into getting some justice and trying to get this city on the right path with leadership.”

In a message to Insider Louisville Tuesday afternoon, Thieneman said he “made a promise to the victims of the Youth Explorer program back in the spring, and I’m honoring that promise to them.”

Thieneman, who was a star football player at the University of Louisville before playing professionally, has run unsuccessfully for political office several times. He lost the Republican primary for Congress in 2008 and mayor in 2010; he also won his party’s nomination for state Senate in his south Louisville district in 2012 before losing to Democratic Sen. Perry Clark in the general election.

When asked in May if he was concerned about pulling Republican or conservative South End Democratic votes away from Republican mayoral nominee Angela Leet in the general election, Thieneman said he was not, arguing that Leet hadn’t been strong enough on what he called a shameful cover-up by the most powerful officials in the city.

Among the other independent candidates who have filed to run for mayor is bike store owner and environmental activist Jackie Green, who campaigned for mayor as an independent in 2010 before dropping out of the race. Also filing to run as independents for mayor are Billy Ralls, Douglas Edward Lattimore, Isaac Marion Thacker IV and Sean Vandevander.

This story has been updated.

Joe Sonka is a staff writer at Insider Louisville focusing on government, politics, education and public safety. He is a former news editor and staff writer at LEO Weekly and has also freelanced for The Nation and ThinkProgress. He has won first place awards from the Louisville Metro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in the categories of Health Reporting, Enterprise Reporting, Government/Politics, Minority/Women’s Affairs Reporting, Continuing Coverage and Best Blog. Email him at [email protected]


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