Clint Brewer: ‘Senator Jeff Yarbro Is a Significant Addition to the Field for Mayor’ of Nashville

Clint Brewer: ‘Senator Jeff Yarbro Is a Significant Addition to the Field for Mayor’ of Nashville

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 public affairs specialist Clint Brewer in studio to comment upon the Nashville mayoral field of candidates and the significance of State Senator Jeff Yarbro (D-Nashville).

Leahy: Clint Brewer all-star panelist and a good friend Clint. On Friday, State Senator Jeff Yarbro announced that he’s running for Mayor of Nashville. He’s a state senator who represents parts of Davidson County right now. So he’s already got name recognition. He’s relatively young. He’s 46. He’s got a very impressive background.

Harvard undergrad. University of Virginia Law School. Has worked and continues to work at Bass, Berry, and Sims, which is really the premier law firm in Nashville. Very expensive, very good. And so now he’s served in the state senate for 10 years. He was young when he was elected and announced that he wants to run for mayor. Said he’s all in to serve as the next mayor of Nashville.

Already in the race, Freddie O’Connell. Can I tell a story about Freddie? Can’t. Okay, Freddie. Come on in. You can tell your story. How about that? Freddie O’Connell and Metro Council member at large Sharon Hurt,  Natisha Brooks, Matt Wilshire, and carpet bagger Jim Gingrich from Alliance Bernstein. You grimace, but it’s true. Carpet bagger Jim. You’re welcome to come in. Carpet bagger Jim has lived here for at least three years and moved from New York City.

Brewer: I hear a salsa commercial now, folks. (Chuckles)

Leahy: And Fran Bush, who was in here yesterday.

Brewer: Former school board member.

Leahy: Former school board member. But Yarbro is interesting in this sense. He has name recognition.

Brewer: Did you say Matt Wilshire?

Leahy: Did I say Matt Wilshire? Yes. Matt Wilshire raised a million bucks. So he’s in the raise. We’ve talked about money. You’re going to need $2 million, $3 million. I think, in this particular race. The election is August 3rd. Top two, if nobody gets 50 percent, goes to a runoff September 13th.

You need $2 million. Of the people that we’ve talked about here, who’s going to get to $2 million? Matt Wilshire?  I don’t think Freddie will get to $2 million. Maybe he will. I don’t think so.

But Sharon Hurt won’t get there. Natisha won’t get there. Jim Gingrich could take his carpet bagger bank account and get the $2 million, but I don’t think it’ll help. And Fran Bush is not going to get the $2 million.

Brewer: Let’s talk about Jeff, and then let’s talk about who can be competitive in the race.

Leahy: Let’s do that.

Brewer: So, Jeff, Senator Yarbro is a significant addition to the field. All the things you said about him, spot on. His district is Sylvan Park to Antioch. It’s a great district for a mayor’s race.

Leahy: He probably currently represents about half of Davidson County.

Brewer: Yes, he does. And he’s been on the ballot three times.

Leahy: Name ID is there.

Brewer: So he’s got the name ID. He’s got, obviously, the infrastructure to run countywide immediately. It’s a name people know. The other thing is he can run without penalty because Metro’s elections are in odd-numbered years, and so he doesn’t risk losing his Senate seat.

I think it’s a really significant addition to the field. I would hesitate to call him the front-runner right off the bat, but I think he and Matt Wiltshire pull pretty even pretty quickly.

Leahy: I think you’re probably right in terms of because Wiltshire has raised a million bucks.

Brewer: Matt has got a really substantial network in Davidson County. He grew up here, went to high school here, and his career has been here.

Leahy: Jeff’s from Dyersburg and didn’t arrive here until after he got out of law school.

Brewer: You look at those two things and sort of the juxtaposition between those two candidates, I think it’s a pretty fair match right now. I think there are people in the field who can come on and be players. I think Jim Gingrich is one of those.

Leahy: You think he can?

Brewer: I do.

Leahy: I think he’ll never get past the carpet bagger thing.

Brewer: He’s got an opportunity to self-fund, which none of the other candidates in the race do. Well, that’s not true. I think Matt can self-fund to a certain extent.

Leahy: So some of that money is self-funded for Matt?

Brewer: I think there’s $400k in there.

Leahy: So he’s really only raised $600k.

Brewer: I think he’s at $1.4. So that would be a million. I think I think Jim Gingrich can self-fund. I think that is probably his best play.

Leahy: I can’t wait to get Jim Gingrich in studio.

Brewer: Jim Gingrich is a delightful guy. You would like Jim Gingrich.

Leahy: He’s not going to come in.

Brewer: He’s incredibly intelligent.

Leahy: He’s going to sit next to me, and I’m going to call him a carpet bagger. And he’s going to go ohh.

Brewer: I don’t know that he would do that.

Leahy: Here’s the gauntlet down. Jim, come on in.

Brewer: Jim is a very intelligent guy. He’s very accomplished. He’s run a very large company. A lot of the management skills we could use in Metro Nashville.

Leahy: Did I mention he’s a carpet bagger? (Chuckles)

Brewer: He has a lot of the serious, hard management skills that could be applied to a large metropolitan city and have a good effect.

Leahy: So I have a question about Jeff Yarbro. Can he take the pay cut? He must be a partner by now at Bass, Berry, and Sims.

Brewer: I don’t know.

Leahy: He’s making bank.

Brewer: He’s obviously willing to. In his law career, if he were to be elected mayor, a former mayor is a really nice person to have in your law firm.

Leahy: If you look at it, 46 year old guy,

Brewer: It’s the back end.

Leahy: Serves a couple of terms, and then he would easily become a senior partner at a law firm.

Brewer: And I think that right now where we are in the history of Metro, Nashville, and the state of Tennessee, and I know a lot of people who disagree with me about this, and they don’t think Metro has done anything wrong. But job one is to tamp all this stuff down with the General Assembly and make the relationship productive again. And it hasn’t been for some time.

Leahy: They’re at odds.

Brewer: When you go and ask the state government for half a billion dollars to build your football stadium, you’ve bought yourself a partner is what you bought.

Leahy: And they said yes.

Brewer: And they said yes.

Leahy: They should have said no. But they said yes.

Brewer: All the things that the state legislature is considering doing with the city of Nashville, from changing its election runoff laws to shrinking the size of its council to taking over fiscal control of the convention center, this is a partisan reaction to a partisan action.

The Metro Council said the Republican National Convention was not welcomed here. They rejected 50 percent of the voters in this country’s convention. I don’t know why anybody would be surprised. And so the next mayor has got to fix that, right? The next mayor has got to mend a new fence.

Leahy: State Senator Jeff Yarbro would have that history.

Brewer: He’s uniquely positioned to do that.

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 Reporwith Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Jeff Yabro” by Jeff Yabro. Background Photo “Nashville City Hall” by Nicolas Henderson. CC BY 2.0.















Nashville Mayoral Candidate Fran Bush Plans on Raising $500,000 for Her Campaign

Nashville Mayoral Candidate Fran Bush Plans on Raising $500,000 for Her Campaign

Live from Music Row, Wednesday 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 independent mayoral candidate for Nashville, Fran Bush in studio to talk about affordable housing and campaign financing.

Leahy: It’s so much fun interviewing our good friend Fran Bush. Fran, you’re running for mayor.

Bush: Yes.

Leahy: Your priorities, we’ll get to your priorities and your funding. So, number one, more police officers, more money for police. What are a couple of your other priorities as mayor?

Bush: The thing that keeps popping up all the time is what the big affordable housing here in the city.

Leahy: The big A, affordable housing.

Bush: We have to address this issue, and there are so many different ideas that I have if I’m elected for mayor. And I’m one of those that I am a listener and then I execute. So I’m going to be able to identify more resources for affordable housing. I’m going to be really involved because I have worked with developers, and they want to work with you, and they want to work with a community.

And so I want to come up with ways that we can really work together and really tackle this affordable housing in different ways. I think some of the things that are happening now are working, but there’s so much more we can do, and I have so many ideas to get the work done for affordable housing.

Leahy: What would one of those ideas be on affordable housing?

Bush: With affordable housing, it comes with, again, you have to have built relationships and building those relationships, because I have been an HOA president for so many years.

Leahy: Hold it. You’ve been a homeowner’s association president? Oh, my goodness.

Bush: Yes.

Leahy: Oh, my goodness. So you live in a development, and there’s a homeowners association, and you’re the president of it?

Bush: Yes, president. I’ve been president of not only one newly developed community but two. So I had an opportunity to really build relationships with those contractors, those developers. And when you build relationships with developers, they want to work with the community.

And a lot of times we don’t really know that. We think, oh, they’re going to buy the land and they’re going to build. No, it’s much more relationship development in that process. So when these communities were being built, I made sure sidewalks were put in. I made sure we had a greenway, and we had space in places for our kids. I was very instrumental in working with developers to make sure that happened and held them accountable.

Leahy: Those are your top priorities?

Bush: Some of them, yes.

Leahy: Some of them. Let’s talk about money. Some of your opponents have already announced they’ve got a million bucks in the bank. How much money do you think it will take to win the August 3rd election or to get into the runoff?

Bush: I personally will say this. When I first ran for school board, I didn’t have a lot of money. What I did was I had a heart and passion for people, and that actually filled that gap, should I say, because it was about the votes.

So I touched people and I was able to identify that. I’m just like you. The only difference is I want to be your leader. If I have to fill that financial gap, that’s okay, because the most important thing for me is to be very intentional about working in the community and touching people. I’m just like you. I work every day.

I put food on the table for my kids. I support my kids and my husband. Just be a part of society and be able to be a leader that has experience. And that’s what you want in your next mayor. You want someone in Nashville that can regain the trust of their mayor.

And because of my history on the school board and being able to execute, be able to make a difference, and be able to change laws. I changed the law. Students can’t go back virtual unless it’s absolutely if there’s some type of emergency. And even then, it’s very limited time to be out of the classroom. So because of my fighting stance down on the local level, the legislature made a law.

Leahy: Other candidates have said to win or to get into the runoff, there’ll be an election on August 3rd. If no one gets 50 percent of the vote on August 3rd, then the top two finishers go to a September 13th or 14th runoff election. Most people that I’ve talked to and most candidates say you’ll need $2 million to be able to do that. Do you have an expectation that you can raise $2 million for Fran Bush?

Bush: You know what? I’ll be honest when it comes to the financial gains of running a campaign, sometimes it’s a turn-off and not just people, but I think Nashvillians want to send a clear message that they want the right person as their next mayor. The financial piece is not as important.

They’re wanting someone that can really be a leader and be able to move the needle in the city. As far as all the issues that we are having that we need to address, and not even just issues, but things to continue to move our city in the right direction.

Remember, probably 70 percent of Nashvillians are not millionaires, right? They’re people just like you and me. And they don’t care about the money. They care about substance and who can lead the city.

Leahy: I think the issue with the $2 million is it’s sort of the nuts and bolts to be able to get your message out. There’s going to be at least 10, maybe more people running, and there are just so many people you can talk one on one to.

So to get your message out, you’ll have to do radio, direct mail, digital marketing, and maybe television. Maybe. And if the other folks are spending $2 million, $3 million, $4 million, and you’re spending, how much do you think you’ll spend?

Bush: I’m going to have several fundraisers throughout the city. My goal is to do a lot of digital marketing. Social media is where my platform is. Social media, social media, social media. My website is

People can go there. They can donate to my campaign. If you believe what I’ve done for the past four years, and I have made a huge difference, and you believe that I can do the same thing for my city, for our city, then please go and support me.

Leahy: So, a lot of our listeners are saying, you know, I’d really like to have somebody who isn’t a left-wing lunatic for mayor. And you’ve demonstrated that you have common sense. You’ve demonstrated that in your four years on the Metro Nashville School Board.

But they also say we need somebody who can win. And to win you need $2 million. You are not quite getting to how much money you have in your budget or that you think you’ll be able to raise. Can you give us an idea of what you think your budget will be?

Bush: And again, it’s so up in the air with what budget I will need. Again, the donations are definitely greatly appreciated and needed. But I’m very strategic in how I reach people. So I’ve done it and I know how to get it done. Again, my platform if I don’t raise a million dollars or 2 million, my goal is to reach people. And my message will resonate throughout the city because of social media.

Social media is pretty much the prime time right now. That’s where everybody is at. They are on their phones all day and scrolling and being able to do their own research. So I don’t really have a complete budget. What I do have is that I will have a budget and a plan to get there.

Leahy: What do you think that minimum number is that you’ll be able to raise between now and the election?

Bush: $1 million and $2 million, that is a stretch for me, I don’t have that. In my head, I would say half a million.

Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:

– – –

Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Reporwith Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Fran Bush” by Fran Bush.















Funding the Police, Top Priority for Independent Nashville Mayoral Candidate Fran Bush

Funding the Police, Top Priority for Independent Nashville Mayoral Candidate Fran Bush

Live from Music Row, Wednesday 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 independent mayoral candidate for Nashville, former Metro School Board member Fran Bush in studio to discuss her top priority for the city.

Leahy: We are delighted to welcome to our microphones once more our very good friend Fran Bush, who last week, well, didn’t surprise me, announced for mayor. Welcome, Fran!

Bush: Well, good morning, everyone. Thank you for having me.

Leahy: It’s always great to have you. Last time you were here, you served on the Metro Nashville Public School Board.

Bush: Yes.

Leahy: And as I talked about it, there were eight left-wing lunatics and one person with common sense. You were the person with common sense.

Bush: Yes.

Leahy: Now you ran again for re-election as an Independent and some left-wing lunatic with a whole bunch of money won. Now there are nine left-wing lunatics in the Metro Nashville School Board. But guess what? You announced last week that you’re going to run for mayor.

Bush: Yes. Yes, yes, yes. I’m really excited about this opportunity. And just as you’ve said, four years on the school board and did a lot of great work. A lot of work that was sometimes hard, took a lot of courage. Of course, our biggest moment was getting our students back in the classroom.

Leahy: You were a champion of that.

Bush: Yes. We had to get those children back in the classroom because now we’re seeing the domino effects of the lack of academic support that they got during that time. So now, it’s no secret, my work is my work, and I just want to make sure I take care of Nashville. That’s my next goal.

Leahy: It’s a crowded field. I think maybe 10 people have announced. I don’t know, a long list of people have announced. On the side of sanity right now, I would say Natisha Brooks, who’s announced, is a conservative Republican, and then you and then all the others are like insane left-wingers. But I don’t think you describe yourself as a Republican. You describe yourself as an Independent. Is that right?

Bush: Yes. To me, it’s about listening to both parties. It’s about being able to be fair. It’s about I may think Democrats may have some issues that I agree with, and I may feel that Republicans have things I agree with. It’s just one of those things that’s important to me. If I am elected the next mayor, that’s what I want to do.

I want to work across the aisles. I want to be able to have conversations with the legislature and our own governor. I think that that’s what’s been missing in a mayor. We see a lot of things that are so divisive on the lower level, and it’s because we’re not talking to each other. So that’s why it’s so important for me to bring us together. I know we’re not going to agree on everything, but it’s important to have the conversations for Nashvillians.

Leahy: I think it’s pretty clear that you could talk to Governor Lee, you could talk to Speaker Sexton or Majority Leader Jack Johnson, and then you can talk to Democrats. So you have that going for you. What’s your big issue as mayor, what are the top two or three big issues you want to focus on?

Bush: One of the big issues I want to focus on is crime and safety. We’ve seen a spike in crime in our city because we’re growing so fast and our men and women in uniform really need a lot of support. And so my plan is to we have to recruit more officers and we have to be more intentional about safety.

And I want to be able to carve out, especially those young adults between that 14 and 26 years old that we see commit more crime now in our city. So my goal is to support those organizations that are boots on the ground.

I want to have those conversations so we can be able to best support them, so they can go into the schools or go into the after-school programs and identify those young people that potentially can get into that type of trouble.

Leahy: So more money for the police department and more officers for the police department.

Bush: Yes.

Leahy: And the police chief, John Drake is his name?

Bush: Yes.

Leahy: Do you support him?

Bush: I do. I support him. I would love to sit down and have that conversation. I hadn’t had a chance to sit down.

Leahy: Have you ever met him?

Bush: I’ve met him. But not a conversation just yet.

Leahy: But that’s on the agenda.

Bush: That is definitely on the agenda along with so much more that’s plagued our city that we need to address.

Leahy: So the number one priority of your administration, if elected, would be to increase funding for the police and increase the number of police officers.

Bush: Absolutely.

Leahy: I think I’m hearing some cheers in our audience.

Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:

– – –

Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Reporwith Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Fran Bush” by Fran Bush. Background Photo “Metro Police Car” by Josh Beasley. CC BY 2.0.















Political Consultant Chris Walker: The Current Field of Nashville Mayoral Candidates Is Weak; Baxter Lee ‘Would Be a Very Good Candidate’

Political Consultant Chris Walker: The Current Field of Nashville Mayoral Candidates Is Weak; Baxter Lee ‘Would Be a Very Good Candidate’

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 political consultant Chris Walker and all-star panelist Aaron Gulbransen in studio to discuss the myriad of weak candidates who have announced their run for mayor of Nashville and recommended those that should.

Leahy: In studio, Chris Walker, political consultant, and Aaron Gulbransen, the official guest host of The Tennessee Star Report. I need some advice. I have a term I want to bring back.

I think it’s appropriate, but Chris and I want to get both of you to respond to this. You remember in our coverage of the 5th Congressional District primary, there was a term we used to good effect on a couple of candidates called carpet bagger. Remember that term carpet bagger? That’s somebody who’s not from a particular area.

Gulbransen: Which all of those candidates loved being seeing that in every article.

Walker: I think I’m going to get some text messages from this one. We’ll see.

Gulbransen: To all of you who I’ve given PTSD during that congressional race, for all my reporting on that, I apologize for absolutely nothing.

Leahy: Yes, you were the guy writing the story, but we made sure that for a couple of candidates who had only recently arrived in Tennessee, the term carpet bagger was appropriate.

And, of course, historically, that’s a term for Yankees who came down after the Civil War carrying all their goods in a carpet bag.  And then got rich by exploiting the locals right after the Civil War. It’s not a term of endearment.

Walker: It is not.

Leahy: I think I may have to bring that term back for the mayoral race because there is a carpet bagger on the loose.

Walker: Who?

Leahy: Jim Gingrich.

Walker: Alliance Bernstein.

Leahy: He’s lived here for at least three years. Came from New York City, got at least $17 million of state and local tax incentives to move Alliance Bernstein, the hedge fund management company here.

The very first thing they did is they went up to the state Capitol and said, we don’t like what you’re doing in LGBTQ legislation. You got to change that. Nothing says gratitude like, give me the money, and let me tell you what to do. So, Jim Gingrich, I think, is a carpet bagger. Should I bring that term back, Chris Walker?

Walker: I think the mayor’s race is something that is very worthy of similar coverage as the 5th Congressional District.

Leahy: This guy is good. That’s a very measured response. Aaron Gulbransen, who used the term carpet bagger to good effect in the Fifth Congressional District GOP primary race, should I bring back the term carpet beggar for Jim Gingrich?

Gulbransen: The short answer is yes, as I sit here wearing a New York Mets hat. (Laughter)

Leahy: You are a native of New York, but you haven’t come here to run for office.

Gulbransen: That’s true.

Leahy: So I think it’s fair to call Jim Gingrich a carpet bagger. Jim, you’re running for mayor. I have a seat here. It says carpet bagger on it, and you’re welcome to sit in it and face the music.

Walker: I think he should.

Leahy: Now, TC Weber, our education reporter, was in here. Yesterday. We talked about the mayoral race, and I said, you know, TC, I don’t think we have a good candidate out there for mayor yet. Do you agree? He said, 100 percent, I agree. It’s a very weak, weak field; it seems to me.

Walker: I agree.

Leahy: But Chris, you’re a political professional. Is there an opportunity for conservatives here in Davidson County to find a candidate who could win? Because the base here in Davidson County is about 25 percent, maybe.

Walker: I would say 35 percent?

Leahy: Twenty-five percent would be the base that’s conservative. And to get to the runoff, you probably have to have at least 35 percent. The runoff is scheduled for August 3rd. But to win, you got to have 50 percent plus one.

Walker: That’s right.

Leahy: So that means you got to get the conservative base and the Independents or the center-left. I’ve looked at the field. They look pretty bad. Nobody fits that category, as far as I can tell.

Walker: There’s no conservative Republican in the race right now. The problem is, if you say you’re a conservative Republican, how do you get that extra 15 percent in a runoff? You don’t want the David Fox problem where you ran a good primary and then you lose to Megan Barry because you can’t get the other 15 percent to vote for you.

Personally, he’s going to kill me for saying this, but I’m going to say it anyway. I think Baxter Lee would be a very good candidate for somebody like that. I think Baxter has a very solid conservative record. I think he has a solid business record.

I think the Republicans and conservative activists in the county know him. But I think the problem would be how do you win a majority in a runoff and in a blue county like Davidson County? That is the question that we’ve got to answer.

Leahy: Aaron Gulbransen, what do you think? You covered the 5th Congressional District GOP primary race. Baxter announced his candidacy. He didn’t qualify on three out of four voting to be in the primary.

When the Executive Committee said, you’re not qualified to three candidates, two of them basically got involved in various levels of lawsuits, which they lost. Baxter Lee looked at the tea leaves, read them well, I thought, and graciously said, I’m not going to fight him.

Gulbransen: He handled himself like a true Southern gentleman. Baxter Lee is somebody I like so much that I wish I could have a quick two-minute conversation with right now before saying anything and go, okay.

What’s the most helpful to you? Should I trash you and go, wink, wink, or should I praise you? To the Nashville voters, Baxter Lee is, wink, an awful moderate candidate. Wink. In all seriousness, he’s a great guy.

Walker: He’s a great guy.

Leahy: Our listeners are that conservative base in Nashville, right? We are the dominant morning program for the active, engaged conservatives in Davidson County. That’s 35 percent. Honestly, maybe some of that 15 percent also listen, but probably not because they listen to NPR or something else.

Gulbransen: To the Democrat trackers out there that are listening to the show or will listen to the show later on, Baxter Lee will portray Republican principles. Wink!

Walker: Nashville has a lot of problems, right? What is that 15 percent really going to vote on? Is it schools? We have leadership here in Davidson County that would shut down schools again in a heartbeat if they could.

Leahy: They want to!

Walker: Yes. They want to put masks back on kids. They want to do all these things. We’ve seen the results of what’s happened from a lot of the public education that’s going on in Davidson County right now. We have a crime problem that’s continuing to grow in the city. We have a job problem right now where we’re trying to figure out how do you continue to bring good jobs to the city with a city council that seems willing to kind of push anyone away who they disagree with.

So there are a lot of big issues. Can that 15 percent actually listen to someone who is a center-right person and say, I have solutions here. We saw it happen in Miami. We’ve seen it happen in Charlotte in the past. We’ve seen it happen in Dallas, even.

Can Nashville be a city that says, hey, we’re going to set aside partisan ideology here? Like, who’s the best leader? I think that’s something that can be done here, and it should be done because ultimately that’s the best way to get Nashville moving in the right direction.

Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:

– – –

Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Reporwith Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Chris Walker” by Chris Walker. Photo “Baxter Lee” by Baxter Lee. Background Photo “Davidson County Courthouse” by Luckiewiki. CC BY-SA 4.0.


TC Weber: No Good Candidates Yet in Nashville Mayoral Race

TC Weber: No Good Candidates Yet in Nashville Mayoral Race

Live from Music Row, Monday 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 Tennessee Star education reporter TC Weber in studio to discuss the lack of good candidates for Nashville’s upcoming mayoral election.

Leahy: Our great education reporter, TC Weber is in studio. TC, I’m going to throw you a curveball. Are you ready?

Weber: Sure.

Leahy: What we want to do here is chat a little bit about the mayor’s race. It’s not exactly an educational story, but it’s a local story. You’ve lived here since 1989?

Weber: I’ve been here since 1989. And over the last several years, I’ve been very involved in monitoring the mayor’s race. As you know, Nashville is set up very uniquely. The mayor does not have any power over the school board and over the schools other than writing a check.

Leahy: Right.

Weber: But he can’t tell them what it goes to. And various mayors have tried to put forward effort to take over the school district and try to exert their control. And there are those who feel they should have more control because they’re judged by schools as part of the record, but they have no influence.

I always pay attention, and I know many of the people involved in the mayor and the council and such. This is an interesting race. This is the one that makes you scratch your chin and go, hmmm.

Leahy: Who’s the least bad at the present? Historically, what the school board has done is they’ve given the one-finger salute to the mayor when they asked to control. Because it’s our budget. Just sign the check and you got nothing else to do.

We can get into that a little bit more. That’s got to change because we have some of the worst-performing K12 public schools in the state and in the country here. Okay, so let’s kind of shift gears. You’ve been writing for us for about a year now, and you’ve been doing your blog, Dad’s Gone Wild for a long time.

Weber: Almost 10 years.

Leahy: Is it true that you’ve got into fights with Twitter? Or fights or discussions with just about every major candidate for mayor?

Weber: Now that I sit here and talk about it, I think that I have had a scrap with just about every candidate except for Matt Wilshire. But Matt Wilshire hasn’t been anywhere near the radar relatively. I’ve got into a scrap with his ex-wife Lisa before about issues. But, yes, sad but true, I’ve had a scrap with just about every one of them.

Leahy: Can I give you my assessment right now and get your reaction to the announcement, of potential candidates for mayor?

Weber: Sure.

Leahy: From the ones we know about. Sharon Hurt, Freddie O’Connell, Matt Wilshire, and Jim ‘Carpet Bagger’ Gingrich.

Weber: I don’t know who he is.

Leahy: Well, nobody knows who he is except in his mind, he’s a legend already. And he’s lived here for what, three years?

Weber: Yeah, I think three. I think. And during the pandemic, let’s say. He didn’t get out and meet a lot of folks.

Leahy: Bob Freeman, who’s been in here, this studio a week ago today, he was here in this studio. And then I heard the name and briefly spoke with her on Saturday, Alice Roli, who’s kind of a Lamar person. She’s kind of gone through a series of jobs.

Weber: Well, she was with Music Makes US, and they’ve done good work there, but I’m not sure how you make the jump from that. I’m baffled by that one. And I like her. I like her family a lot, but I’m baffled.

Leahy: Yes. I don’t think any of them, any of them are going to be good candidates. Would you agree with me on that?

Weber: I would agree 100 percent. And I think this is one of those elections where we have to really think about because it’s going to set the direction of where Nashville goes.

We may actually be at a breaking part from the past and move into the future, or we’ve got to figure out how much of old Nashville we’re going to keep and how much new Nashville is going to embrace. And it’s a hard decision, and I hope people are paying attention and I hope they’re getting out and voting.

Leahy: Our listeners represent about the 25 percent of Nashville that is conservative, and that’s our base. And for our listeners, folks, we’re going to find a candidate that you can back that has a chance to win. I don’t know who that person is yet.

Weber: I don’t know. It sounds to me like you might be out looking for the Loch Ness Monster.

Leahy: (Laughs) Boom. That’s funny, TC. (Laughter)

Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:

Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Reporwith Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “TC Weber” by Thomas “TC” Weber for MNPS District 2 School Board. Background Photo “Tennessee State Capitol” by Ken Lund. CC BY-SA 2.0.