By Nashville Voice staff
The year 2018 has been quite eventful regarding the occupancy of the Nashville-Davidson County mayor’s seat.
From a scandalous resignation to a tiresome season of citizens voting for a special election, a transit referendum, a vice mayor, a primary, a community accountability board, and a general election for U.S. Senate and Gubernatorial candidates, voter’s fatigue can easily sit in.
Fortunately, with a new surge of energy around political power, Nashvillians are expressing their choice for the way they want to see their city through their ballot.
On this last weekend of the year, Nashville Voice has taken a look at the slate of both potential and confirmed candidates running to be Nashville’s next mayor. The decision to run for mayor is usually at the first of the year because of the August election.
This is important because, with our second mayoral election in two years, timing is everything. NV takes a stab of the 2019 election for who is in, who is out, and who is up for debate.
Announcement decisions will be made soon to see who will run against Mayor Briley, who announced his re-election bid in early December.
One thing is certain, mayoral elections in Music City come with millions of dollars spent and serious warfare within the city. Urban Nashville will be a strong decider in this race and readily know the power they possess.
Nashville Voice will be here to cover all the action.
The Incumbent David Briley
It is not up for discussion. Mayor David Briley will run for his first four-year term in the upcoming election. The former Vice Mayor rapidly ascended to the mayor’s seat in March after the resignation of former Mayor Barry and dominantly took the May Special Election without a runoff.
As the incumbent, Mayor Briley has the resources and network for victory. Briley has the record and experience in navigating local politics. Not even reaching a year as mayor, Briley has continuing and upcoming battles to face, including if he will maintain Police Chief Anderson and how supportive he will push for equity in Minority Business Prosperity to continue being the leader of Nashville.
Chance of Running: Confirmed
Real Estate CEO Bill Freeman ran unsuccessfully in 2015 with a third-place finish and spending $4 million of his own money. This fact is critical because Freeman can self-fund his campaign and not simply rely on campaign contributions.
Word on the street is Freeman is strongly considering another run. He is a formidable candidate, but does he want to stomach seven months and millions of dollars for a chance at mayor again?
Chance of Running: Toss Up
State Representative John Ray Clemmons
Rep. Clemmons is serving his third term as State Representative of the 55th District of the Tennessee Assembly. In 2014, the Representative defeated the incumbent, Gary Odom.
JRC is not afraid to use his slingshot to defeat Goliath incumbents. The giant slayer is an outspoken progressive who is intelligent and ambitious. In a progressive city, he has an advantage with his public speaking and presidential charm.
One weakness he has is it is not clear on how much support he has from the African-American community or a County-wide status recognition. Whatever the case, he will be a strong competitor.
Chance of Running: He’s in!
Councilmember at Large, Erica Gilmore
Councilwoman At-Large Erica Gilmore placed third when she ran for mayor during the 2018 Special Election. A mother of one and daughter of State Senator, Brenda Gilmore, Gilmore has the ability to run again.
This does put the At-Large Councilwoman in a position to give up her chance for a second term as an at-large councilperson or make a second attempt as Mayor.
Gilmore has strong name recognition with having more votes in the 2015 election for Council At-Large than even Megan Barry for Mayor in the August 2015 election. Her decision will be an interesting one.
Chance of Running: Doubtful.
The former Vanderbilt Law Professor took second place in the May Special Election. The conservative African-American television analyst and right-wing Tea Party aligner
Until recently, she has stayed away from local politics to give commentary on National Issues. Though she is a lightning rod for Republicans, we will probably see her stay away from running in this election.
Chance of Running: She’s Out.
After making a reputation as the “Waffle House Hero,” Shaw made a name for himself as a selfless individual who helped turn a time of tragedy into a moment of hope. His story has gone viral nationwide from connecting to celebrities and building a huge twitter following.
A little while back, our local neighborhood hero tweeted out, “Shaw 2020”. With nationwide name recognition and recently turning 30 years old— the minimum age to run for mayor, Shaw could be a force to influence Millennial voters to give a facelift to Nashville Politics.
On the other end, the Tennessee State alumnus and frat boy doesn’t have any municipal experience. What is his reason for running? Is politics a passion or an opportunistic move? If he does want into politics, should he start with a smaller position as Councilmember or Council at Large?
Either way, Shaw could become the new face for Black Leadership in the city.
Chance of Running: Whoa Nelly!
William F. Carpenter
Through the grapevine, one name thrown out that no one knew was, Bill Carpenter. We must be honest that many did not know much about him.
Carpenter, who retired last week from LifePoint Health Inc., has been one of Nashville’s highest-paid CEOs of a public-traded company. In July, LifePoint Health sold to Apollo Global Management to become private.
With a successful run as CEO, he could go down the path of a businessman to a politician like former Nashville Mayor and State Governor, Phil Bredesen, or Governor-Elect Bill Lee.
Chance of Running: He’s going to get in the race.
The Executive Director of Conexion Americas is stepping down from her role on May 31, 2019. She is known for her work in immigrant advocacy and stops for President Obama to give a national speech. Her name was thrown around to be a wild card, but with a late departure from the non-profit, it’s doubtful that she will run.
Chance of Running: She’s Out
The outspoken At-Large Member and younger brother of U.S. Congressman Jim Cooper, has been a strong critic of Nashville mayors.
Cooper, the Brentwood developer, could be the candidate to overturn the Metropolitan establishment. He has made a name for challenging the trends that make Nashville the, “It City.”
A big factor for him as mayor is we know he is very vocal about what he is against, but what is he for? Will he just be a city critique or a Mayor that the city did not know they needed?
Chance of Running: He’s In.
The Unknown Candidate
Watch out for a name of one who is not out of the loop. (S)he is holding their cards real tight to their chest. They are more than likely polling to determine if they should get in. Maybe they are a minority or a name on the underground who is the people’s champ.
Chance of Running: Choose wisely and fearlessly