Friday, September 27, 2019

Speculating who may be the mayoral candidates in 2023

by Rod Williams - With Cooper not even sworn in yet, it seems a little early to be speculating who may be the mayoral candidates in 2023 but Nashville Post did so. They admit it is early and write: "Tomorrow, John Cooper will be sworn in as Metro Nashville’s ninth mayor. Today, we will wildly — and perhaps irresponsibly — speculate about who may be the 10th."

This is an interesting read, just to know who these people are and to see who informed observes think has mayoral potential. Those on the Nashville Post list are Bob Mendes, Matt Wiltshire, Carol Swain, John Ray Clemmons, Ashford Hughes, Renata Soto, Charles Robert Bone, Freddie O’Connell, Tanaka Vercher, Jeff Yarbro, Lonnell Matthews, Bob Freeman, Harold Love, Christiane Buggs, and Megan Barry. Follow this link to see what Nashville Post had to say about each of them.

Since we are engaging in wild speculation, I would add these to the list: Councilman Steve Glover, Sheriff Daron Hall, County Clerk Brenda Wynn, District Attorney Glenn Funk, and Register of Deeds Karen Johnson. Just as the Nashville Post does, this list assumes either Cooper does not run again or for some reason disappoints and is vulnerable by 2023.

Councilman Steve Glover is on the list because he won an at-large seat and has the support of Nashville's conservative voters. He has already won a county-wide race, so has county-wide name recognition. He has experience having served as a member of the School Board and two terms as a district council member in addition to the experience he will have as a Councilman at-large.  Carol Swain, should she run, would compete for some of the same votes as Glover. Swain came close to making the runoff for mayor in the recent General Election, but I doubt she would attempt a third run for mayor. I sort of doubt Swan would still be interested in four years. I would not be surprised if Carol Swain did not become a pundit on Fox News are get some other high profile position with a think tank or national conservative advocacy organization.  If Swain does run, she has a disadvantage in that she is a published pundit and scholar who has expressed very conservative views on national and philosophical issue that would alienate many moderates. Glover is conservative but has not taken strong ideological positions on issues that would alienate moderates.

Sheriff Daron Hall does a good job as Sheriff, is likeable and did not buckle to pressure to adopt sanctuary city policies.  He would have broad appeal except among the most progressive elements who want Nashville to become a sanctuary city.

District Attorney Glenn Funk keeps his name in the news and has done some grandstanding critical of the police department and that would help him with progressives, except he once had his picture made with the Confederate flag. Also, it was he who asked the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to investigate Mayor Megan Barry’s affair. I think that would be a plus, even with progressives, if it matters at all by that time.

County Clerk Brenda Wynn.  She has served in her current position since 2012 and was the first African-American woman to win election to a constitutional office in Davidson County.  She is likeable, qualified and her office has been scandal-free. She has no strident political positions that would turn people off. She is Black and Nashville's population is 28% Black. I do not know what percentage of those who vote are Black but suspect it is greater than their percentage of the population.  My perception is that Blacks are more civically involved at the local level than the average person. My perception is that many new-comers to Nashville, who are mostly White, do not care much about local elections. I am sure many Blacks think it is time Nashville had a Black mayor. Among those on the Nashville Post list, at least four of them are Black, if they do not all run, then that leaves another opening for a Black candidate.

Karen Johnson, Register of Deeds, like Brenda Wynn and several others on the Nashville Post list is Black, which I think will be an advantage for a candidate. Karen Johnson is a former district Council member and having been elected Register of Deeds has county-wide name recognition.  Karen Johnson is charming and personable and very attractive. Those are positive attributes for a candidate.

Other potential candidates may be Bill Freeman again, Stuart McWhorterLinda Rebrovick, or Howard Gentry again, or other Constitutional office holders. I don't know if any of the people I have named or any named by the Nashville Post have an interest in higher office or not. There are probably other potential candidates whose name I have not mentioned. If anyone has a name to add to the list please do.

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