Legendary Louisville Democratic Ward Boss Clarence Yancey Dies

A prominent Louisville political activist and west end ward boss has died at 89.

Clarence Yancey passed away on Sunday, according to his family.

Yancey connected and helped elect numerous high-profile Democrats over decades. He served as the district chairman for Louisville’s West End Democratic Party.

He became the 43rd Legislative District chair in 1982. In 2008, Yancey told an interviewer the 26,000 people in his district vote the way he wants them to “nine times out of ten.”

In 1995, Clarence got credit behind the scenes for helping Paul Patton make his way to the governor’s mansion as he turned out the west end and labor unions. Patton won the race with 50.88% of the vote to Forgy’s 48.71%.

He was notorious for handing own his version of the sample ballot, which helped voters select the candidates he was backing. He described the method in this video from 2008.

In the last several weeks, Yancey publicly backed Craig Greenberg as he is vying to become Louisville’s next mayor.

“Saddened to hear about the passing of my good friend and iconic community leader, Clarence Yancey,” Greenberg wrote. “Clarence, you’ll remain an inspiration to me and so many others in public service. Rest in peace.”