Yesterday’s election will bring at least 12 new faces to Nashville’s Metro Council, including at least one new LGBTQ councilperson. District 10 elected Zach Young outright in the general election, Brett Withers was unopposed in District 6, and Nancy van Reece carried her district by a vast majority. District 7 candidate Emily Benedict carried the most votes in her 8-person race, and she and District 13’s Russ Bradford made the runoffs. If both are elected, five of the council’s 35 seats will be held by members of the LGBT community.
Notably, incumber Mayor David Briley, who received 25% of the vote in the very lightly attended election, will also face developer and councilman John Cooper, who received 35%, in the runoff election. Controversial former Vanderbilt professor Carol Swain garnered 22% of the vote, while State Rep. John Ray Clemmons finished fourth with 16%.
Swain, who saw much of her support drawn to Cooper, whom many conservatives believe is the more electable conservative candidate, said, “You know, one of the things that I can say that has disappointed is just the role of money in elections… Just how someone like Councilman Cooper can put in over $1 million and pretty much, you know, buy name recognition. And so, that is a huge concern.”
Ironically, Swain’s campaigns have been largely funded by a small group of conservative millionaires with ties to the Beamans and Bill Lee.
Early voting in the runoff for Mayor and the remaining Metro Council seats will begin August 23, and election day will be on September 12.