Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed recovering journalist Clint Brewer in studio to discuss the top candidates for Nashville’s mayoral race.
Leahy: In studio all-star panelist and recovering journalist, Clint Brewer. Clint, you are plugged into what’s going on in the mayoral race, and I want to talk to you a little bit about that. We’ve had a couple of the candidates here in studio and have talked to them. It seems to be a mayoral race that nobody’s paying attention to.
Brewer: Oh, I don’t know about that. I think there are people paying attention.
Leahy: The candidates are.
Brewer: I think it’s been overshadowed.
Leahy: That’s perhaps a better way to describe it.
Brewer: But people are engaged. I think people are paying attention.
Leahy: So just to summarize, if you look at kind of the candidates and we’ll see if we can cover them all here. If you look at the money side of it Jim Gingrich, who to his credit, we spent a whole segment with us.
He came in studio here and we talked to him about our claim that he was a carpetbagger. He said, what do you mean carpetbagger? I’ve lived here since September of 2018, to which we said yes, carpetbagger. But he brushed that off. He’s an interesting fellow. He’s got a lot of money.
Brewer: He does.
Leahy: He’s raised $2.1 million, and he has some interesting policy ideas. But he just doesn’t seem to connect with people. That’s Jim. Jim Gingrich.
Brewer: He was the first one to really be against Titans Stadium.
Leahy: He was, asterisk. He elaborated on the conditions in which it was currently set. But nonetheless, he made an interesting policy point there. So he’s been in studio here as has Freddie O’Connell, who mixed it up pretty well with us.
And we had a fun moment with him when I retracted my claim that he was a left-wing Bernie Sanders supporter, and he said, no, I’m not a Bernie Sanders supporter.
But he did point out that he was an Elizabeth Warren supporter. But he was very friendly and very articulate with his point of view. Alice Rolli, a Republican has been in here. She’s raised $200,000 bucks mostly from herself.
And Natisha Brooks, the Republican has been here. Fran Bush has been here, Independent. But Natisha and Fran, they don’t have any money. So they don’t have a shot. Matt Wilshire has raised what, $1.4 million? One million eight hundred thousand dollars.
Brewer: Yes. $1.8 million.
Leahy: And apparently, he’s getting decent reviews in terms of the candidate forums, et cetera. Sharon Hurt is running. Who’s the accessor?
Brewer: Vivian Wilhoyt.
Leahy: And then the state senators, Jeff Yarbro, and Heidi Campbell.
Brewer: Huge field.
Leahy: It’s a big field.
Brewer: Huge field. And with some very high-powered local elected officials in it.
Leahy: So the election is August 4th. If nobody gets 50 percent plus one, there’ll be a runoff in early September.
Brewer: There’s going to be a runoff.
Leahy: The runoff will be the top two.
Brewer: And sub 20 percent.
Leahy: The first place winner could be like at 20, and the second place could be at 19 or something like that. Right now, you saw it. If you look at the money, you would say one, two, and three would be Jim Gingrich, Matt Wilshire, and Freddie O’Connell, if you looked at the Money. Gingrich’s problem is he just doesn’t connect with people, even though he is got some TV ads out there.
And he was in studio, and congratulations to him for coming in studio and facing the music. But he just didn’t connect, I think. He doesn’t have that common touch. Wilshire has not been in here. I’m sure he will come in here at some point and we’ll talk to him. Freddie O’Connell was able to handle it pretty well, I thought. He’s made some good votes. He opposed the stadium.
Brewer: He did.
Leahy: And he also voted in favor of having Metro Police provide guidance to Metro Nashville Public Schools on safety. That was a proposal Courtney Johnson put forward and the city council. It was defeated, surprisingly.
He’s actually made some good points. Now if you looked at that runoff, I was thinking probably last time it, maybe it was the money leaders Wilshire and Gingrich. Right now, my guess making the runoff would be maybe Wilshire and Freddie, or Wilshire and one of the state senators.
Brewer: Yes, it’s a push. Here’s the thing, I don’t know that the money is going to matter as much as getting your people out. You can win. And you can get into this runoff by simply running a regional race, if you will, inside Davidson County.
And if one of these state senators rings the bell and they get a high turnout in their district, you get Vivian Wilhoyt turning her crowd out. The money might be secondary. I think Wilshire makes the runoff. I think that the next position is in question.
Leahy: I completely agree with you. I think Wilshire makes it, and I think the next could be Freddie, it could be Yarbro, it could be Campbell, it could be Wilhoyt.
Brewer: I agree.
Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Jim Gingrich” by Jim Gingrich. Photo “Matt Wiltshire” by Matt Wiltshire. Photo “Freddy O’Connell” by Freddy O’Connell. Background Photo “Nashville City Hall” by Nicolas Henderson. CC BY 2.0.