All-Star Panelist Clint Brewer: Titan Stadium Deal ‘Is Going to Get Bumped to the Heel of the Discussion’ After Mayor Cooper’s Announcement He Will Not Run for Re-Election
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 all-star panelist Clint Brewer in studio to discuss how with current Mayor John Cooper out of the mayor’s race, the Titans Stadium deal is no longer important amongst candidate positions.
Leahy: With us, our very good friend Clint Brewer. Clint, we only have you for this segment. You have to boogie out and do some business.
Brewer: Got some business to attend to.
Leahy: Got some business to attend to. But I wanted to go back to the mayor’s race. I think it’s fascinating. I have an idea. I don’t know if all my ideas are good.
Brewer: I don’t know if anybody in the Metro government is going to listen to you either, Mike.
Leahy: Oh, nobody in the Metro government would listen. Let me just stop for a moment. Nobody currently in the Metro government is going to listen to me now. I think right now in Metro Nashville, probably 30 percent of the population listens to this show and they probably all pretty much agree with 90 percent of what we do, right?
Brewer: Ehh. Ehh. (Laughs)
Leahy: But yeah, okay, maybe not 90 percent, maybe 70 percent. Anyway, we have a base in Davidson County of people who vote in the mayoral election. And I wanted to run this by you since your experience in Davidson County and have been a Tennessean your entire life.
Brewer: Entire life.
Leahy: Yes, which I haven’t. I mean, I’ve only lived here for 31 years.
Brewer: You’re grandfathered in.
Leahy: Am I grandfathered in?
Leahy: But here’s the question. Would a mayoral candidate who makes, as one of their key platform elements, opposition to the Tennessee Titans Stadium deal, would they be able to garner support and gain support with such a position?
Brewer: I don’t think you’re going to find a candidate who is out front and overwhelmingly in favor of it. I mean, they may not be against it as it currently stands, the current version of the deal. They’re not going to say, I support it; we’re going to do this deal. I don’t think any of them are going to say that.
I think all of them are going to say something very similar, which is, we need to take a look at it. We’re going to have to revisit that. We’ve got a conversation about other priorities in the city. I know the people who are working on it don’t want to hear this, but I think it’s going to get bumped to the heel of the discussion.
Leahy: And by that, you mean it won’t really be fully discussed until after we have a new mayor.
Brewer: Yes. I think that you’ll have maybe a couple who will come out and say, I’m against it as it stands now, we need a better deal. I think there are some who are going to come out and say, we have more studying and more thought to apply to this.
I think with Mayor Cooper out of the race, I don’t think that taking a position opposite the stadium gets you as far as it would have with him in the race. Does that make sense? Okay.
Leahy: Because could have been the poster child, right, that you could go after.
Brewer: That only sort of buttresses your argument. If you’ve got a counterpoint. Had he chosen to run again, he would have had to have owned it. And he would have to. Without that foil there I just don’t know how much I don’t think that the difference in the candidates’ positions is going to be that different, where it gives anybody an advantage.
Leahy: A foil, you say? I love that term. (Laughs)
Brewer: Before we move on, I know this is our host’s least favorite topic in the mayoral race, but I’m just going to say it.
Leahy: Well, hold it. You can say whatever you want to.
Brewer: I know. That’s why I’m about to say it.
Leahy: He’s trying to set me up for this.
Brewer: No, I’m not. I just want to say that we’ve had another interesting entrant into the race. It’s a very interesting field, but until former mayor Megan Barry says whether she’s going to run or not, we don’t really know what we’re dealing with.
Leahy: Oh, I’m delighted to talk about the former mayor.
Brewer: Well, I’m just telling you, she’s the heavy out there, and in an open seat, somebody with that level of popularity can’t be discounted. And I just think she has to continue to be a political consideration for the field until she states affirmatively. I don’t know that a reporter has asked her, but she is still a very popular public figure in Nashville, and I think she would be formidable in a race.
Leahy: She’s never accepted our invitation to come on The Tennessee Star Report. She’s welcome to come on. It will be a direct set of questions for her. For the traffic at The Tennessee Star and for the ratings of The Tennessee Star Report, it would be a boom if Megan Barry got into the race because of her disgraceful departure from the mayor’s office.
Brewer: And to be fair to her, I don’t know that she’s even entertaining the idea. But with an open seat, it just creates a lot of possibilities.
Leahy: Yes, I think that’s right. Now, let’s talk about possibilities. I’m very interested as you know, the Davidson County Republican Party will be selecting their new chair on Saturday. I’ve gone on the record as endorsing my friend Lonnie Spivak for that role.
He’s been around for a long time and is a very capable, very good guy. And I think the mayor’s race presents an opportunity for the Davidson County Republican Party. I think our listeners will know that Clint’s facial expressions indicate he’s not so sure.
So let me pose that in terms of a question. Is there an opportunity for someone who’s not a total left-wing lunatic, and I would put pretty much, I don’t know, just Jim Gingrich at all but the others, I think, are?
Brewer: I don’t think any of them are left-wing lunatics.
Leahy: I think they are.
Brewer: I think the field as a whole is left of center.
Leahy: You are such a kind person Clint.
Brewer: Broadly, there’s opportunity in metro politics for Republicans and conservatives to run and win. I’m always a fan of let’s crawl before we walk and let’s walk before we run. Wouldn’t it be nice if the Republican Party here could maybe pick off a school board seat or two?
Leahy: I understand what you’re saying. I don’t disagree.
Brewer: Let’s start somewhere reasonable. Let’s not just go straight to the top of the ticket.
Leahy: But here’s the other thing. You see, from an organizational perspective, this opportunity is so interesting, I think it makes sense to have a credible candidate out there that the GOP can support. Maybe they get 30 percent, maybe they get 35 percent. Maybe they squeak into the runoff.
Brewer: Mayor Cooper was very effective at recruiting conservatives to his last campaign.
Leahy: And they are not feeling good about the way he treated them. They felt like he was deceptive.
Brewer: And so the question becomes, do conservatives in this county repeat that exercise and sort of pick a horse that they can live with?
Leahy: Let me say from the announced candidates, and I’ll add Bob Freeman to this, Bob Mendes or Megan Berry, the absolute unanimity, is we’re not going to fall for the Jim Cooper plan again. And we need somebody else.
Brewer: The John Cooper plan.
Leahy: Thank you. It’s early.
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