Live from Music Row, Tuesday 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 all-star panelist Aaron Gulbransen in studio to discuss proposed legislation that is likely to pass reducing the size of Metro Nashville Council members from 40 to 20.
Leahy: Aaron, a couple of things if you could bring us up to speed on. How is this bill that will reduce the size of Metro Council to no more than 20 from the current level of 40 of Metro Nashville Davidson County? How’s that doing?
Gulbransen: William Lambert’s bill in the House, HB 48, passed the House yesterday, 72 to 25. And the Senate version will be heard. Today in the Senate Finance Ways and Means Committee, the senator that is the Senate sponsor, SB 87, is State Senator Bo Watson.
Leahy: That thing’s gonna pass.
Gulbransen: You’ve got the heavyweights behind it. Of course, there are a number of very accurate things to say about it. One of which, from my perspective, it’s a good government bill.
Leahy: In essence, it’s a good government bill, but it is motivated by revenge.
Leahy: So there’s that. What about this idea of getting rid of runoffs in local elections? There’s a bill, and if it passes and becomes law, would it apply to the mayoral election here in at Metro Nashville Davidson County?
Gulbransen: My understanding is that’s the intent. I will say what the caveat is; it’s still a caption. It is gonna be, from my understanding, heard this week. But I haven’t seen the amendment to the caption so.
Leahy: We could be in a situation where if it passes and it goes into effect this year, it would eliminate runoffs in Metro Nashville Davidson County mayoral election, which means that somebody in theory could be elected mayor with 20, 25 percent of the vote. Is that right?
Gulbransen: Yes. If you get all the Republicans swimming in the same direction you could. You could see that, or you could see anybody, really. The Democrat party right now, with their emphasis on their very disparate identity politics under the situation, would have to put a lot of pressure to get behind one person to make sure that doesn’t happen. But they wouldn’t be able to do that.
Leahy: The announced candidates in the mayoral race are Matt Wilshire, who’s raised like a million bucks, he says, or maybe more than that. A little bit more than that.
Gulbransen: He’s certainly capable of that.
Leahy: And Matt Wilshire, who’s a lefty.
Gulbransen: He’s a carpetbagger, right?
Leahy: Matt? No, Matt Wilshire is not a carpet bagger. Oh no. We can only use that phrase for the actual carpetbagger. Jim Carpetbagger Gingrich.
Gulbransen: That’s the carpetbagger.
Leahy: He’s the carpetbagger. Matt? No, Matt is born and breaded.
Gulbransen: Excuse me, Matt. I apologize for that one.
Leahy: Matt Wilshire. You gotta come in, and we’ll let you know that was an inaccurate description of who you are.
Gulbransen: I got you confused with Gingrich for a moment. But carpetbagger, Jim Gingrich.
Leahy: We’ve had advice for all of them to come in. They’ve not come in. Sharon hurt. She’s been on; she’s a lefty. Who else is out there? Fred O’Connell. He’s a lefty.
Leahy: Yarbro actually, I think he’s got some promise in terms of winning. Because he’s got some chops, he’s got his own money. He’s a partner of Bass, Berry, and Sims. Now on the not-crazy lunatic left-wing side, you have Natisha Brooks, who’s very nice.
I don’t think she’s got a lot of money. Fran Bush, our friend who is a former Metro Nashville School Board member and who ran as an Independent and really got decimated. She lost three to one just recently, and she said that she’s gonna try and raise $500,000. That’s not gonna be enough.
I don’t even know if she’ll get to $500,000. She’s a friend. And then Alice Rolli just announced, and we’re gonna have Alice on. Alice, I think she’s gonna have money, but she worked in Lamar Alexander’s reelection campaign. She’s had a series of jobs, none of which I think she’s accomplished much of anything in.
But she’ll come on and she’ll tell us if she’s accomplished anything. And her dad was a big financial guy who got into some trouble but was friends with Lamar Alexander, not on our side. It’s a weak field.
Gulbransen: If you get rid of the runoffs, it’s a completely different campaign in all likelihood. If they don’t, then you’re looking at more than one Democrat that gets into the runoff. And then you’ll have a Democrat mayor.
Leahy: We’ve had Fran Bush in and Natisha Brooks. We’ll get Alice Rolli in and talk to her about that. We’ll ask her the tough questions. What have you actually accomplished in your life and how could you be a mayor?
I think she’ll have money, but has she accomplished anything? And is she a conservative, or is she, basically a Lamar Alexander establishment Republican? We’ll find that out.
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.
Background Photo “Election Day” by Phil Roeder. CC BY 2.0.