Thursday morning June 8, 2023 on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy, broadcast weekday mornings on TalkRadio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC.
Michael Patrick Leahy: Clint, so we’re talking about the Nashville mayoral race. There was a poll released a couple days ago by the Commercial Real Estate Development Association. And well, it’s interesting because when the polls and there are polls, this is a poll of 400 likely Davidson County voters. What’s the margin of error on a poll like that?
Clint Brewer: I think normally it’d be like four to five percent.
Michael Patrick Leahy: Four to five percent. Got it. Okay. I mean, that’s a pretty small sample.
Clint Brewer: It’s a sample size many would use for a city. But still small.
Michael Patrick Leahy: You’re quite right. If it were a state, you’d probably get minimum 700 for your sample size, or more. But with the city being smaller, it’s harder to get a good sample. So the margin error is four or five percent. There are two things that struck me about this poll. And we’ll get to the horse race here in just a second.
45 percent of the voters are not sure.
Clint Brewer: Sounds about right.
Michael Patrick Leahy: So it does sound about right. I’ll go through the list of the top vote getters of that 55 percent who’ve, who’ve made a choice.
Fred O’Connell in the lead with 10 percent State Senator Jeff Yarborough. With 9 percent State Senator Heidi Campbell with 8 percent, Matt Wilshire with 8 percent, Metro Council member-at-large Sharon Hurt with 7 percent. Alice Rollie with 4 percent, Jim Gingrich with 3 percent.
Now what that tells me with a 4 to 5 percent margin of error, with 45 percent undecided, and six weeks to go , and six weeks to go, you have basically Freddy O’Connell, city councilor, Jeff Yarbrough, Heidi Campbell, Matt Wilshire, Sharon Hurt, all tied. Basically, right?
Clint Brewer: It’s almost anybody’s race.
Michael Patrick Leahy: It’s almost anybody’s race.
Clint Brewer: If you’re in the low single digits and you got money, you have a chance. If you don’t, then you don’t.
Michael Patrick Leahy: And Jim Gingrich had 3 percent now that’s surprising that he would be that low with all the money he spent.
Clint Brewer: That’s what makes me kind of look sideways at this poll a little bit.
Michael Patrick Leahy: Sure that’s right, but Alice Rollie at 4 percent, you know, she’s probably not in the running. I mean, it would seem to me.
Clint Brewer: I wouldn’t think so.
Michael Patrick Leahy: Now this, I wanna get your reaction to this. The seven leading candidates, or seven of the, of the 11 candidates were at a forum on Monday night. . . Here’s the question from the moderator. And then Jim Gingrich gave an answer, which is kind of typical of how all the other answers. Listen to this clip:
Mayoral Forum Moderator: There have been numerous challenges from this state legislature over the past decade, particularly in relations to policies that affect our local autonomy and our ability to live into our values as a community. And we know that the situation has escalated recently with the state showing increased antagonism towards our city with policies that often disproportionately impact black and brown communities and marginalized communities.
And so, I know you’ve answered versions of this question in other spaces. But we want to know, in your opinion, what is an underexplored strategy or tool to combat state overreach, defend Nashville’s autonomy and protect the rights and interest of marginalized communities.
Jim Gingrich: So you’re exactly right. We are under attack by the state.
The entire relationship needs to be reset because it is, it is not just that specific issue, but it is a, on a whole host of issues that the state is intruding on Nashville’s autonomy. Unfortunately, we’ve got a lot of politicians who wanna play political games rather than actually serve the people of either the city or the state.
That has to change. I don’t come from that background. We need to reset with the, in the obvious way of, of, with the legislature and with, with the governor. But we also need to build relationships across the state because issues that confront. A broad set of communities are also happening in cities across the state, and we do not have those relationships at this point in time.
Clint Brewer: So let’s parse that. And, and I think Jim did as good a job answering that as anybody has. But let’s, let’s look at some of the minutiae of it, because it’s important, the details.
Let’s start here: Nashville is not autonomous. It’s not autonomous.
Michael Patrick Leahy: Let me just pause for a moment. We need to get the crowd cheering because that is the key point of all of this.
Clint Brewer: There’s this sort of collective delusion that somehow Nashville and Davidson County is this freestanding, autonomous entity sitting smack dab in the middle of Tennessee, but a city state, if you will.
But, it somehow has no obligation or responsibility to answer to anybody, and that it gets to be its own thing. Independent of the rest of Tennessee. There are 95 counties in this state of which. Davidson County and Nashville Metropolitan Government is, that’s one county and the state government from the judicial system to the executive branch to the legislative branch, all have statutory oversight authority over Davidson County, just like they do over the other 94 counties. And I think if folks who were of this mindset in Nashville spent some time traveling the state, particularly if they got out of the Nashville area and went to East and West Tennessee, they would find that, and I think this was reported here recently, you know, in several quotes, in different publications, and folks have made this point.
People out there just in the rest of the state don’t find Nashville. That’s special. They just don’t, they don’t find it as special as Nashville finds itself. And you know, most of our legislature are from those other counties and they just, this, this, this sort of massive disconnect that people here have about this is just mindboggling to me.
Now, Jim is right. People in Metro government and Nashville Davidson County political circles do not have the relationships and state government that they have to communicate and to open the channels of communication when there are problems and to talk. Now, look, state government gave a half a billion dollars of taxpayers money from all other 94 counties to build an NFL stadium here, but they don’t want any strings attached.
They don’t want anybody to have any say about how this county functions as a part of Tennessee. It’s ludicrous.
Michael Patrick Leahy: I couldn’t have said that better myself, in fact. That was a home run answer, Clint.
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Photo “Court House and City Hall” by Michael Rivera CC4.0.