Nashville Mayoral Race: The Progressive Versus the Right-Wing Fave

Written by on August 7, 2015

Megan Barry speaks out for fair housing, improved schools, transit improvements, LGBT equality and more before a jubilant crowd at her election victory party at the Nashville Farmers' Market on Thursday, Aug. 6. photo by ND

Megan Barry speaks out for fair housing, improved schools, transit improvements, LGBT equality and more before a jubilant crowd at her election victory party at the Nashville Farmers’ Market on Thursday, Aug. 6. photo by ND

Man, it was quite the night at the Nashville Farmers’ Market. That’s where we spent Thursday evening after the Election Day polls closed. It was the party, naturally, for the progressive candidate, Metro Council at-large member Megan Barry. And it was joyous from the get-go. It was as if the folks on hand knew something great was going to happen.

With a seven-candidate field, a Sept. 10 runoff election featuring the top two finishers was inevitable. In the case of Barry, we figured the race would come down to her and inexplicably popular real estate mogul Bill Freeman or (preferably) her against Fox News and right-wing super PAC darling David Fox. All we needed was for Megan to come in second place.

It was not meant to be for the deep-pocketed Democratic fundraiser. As soon as returns started coming in, they showed Megan Barry in first with about 24 percent, bankrolled-by-his-rich-brother Fox in a close second with roughly 23 percent, and Freeman, the supposed lock, in third, hovering between 19 and 20 percent. And that’s pretty much how the count (unofficially as I write this) ended.

When the candidate concessions came, the crowd at the Farmers’ Market went nuts, hugging, cheering, and dancing to Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA.” The market’s stage filled quickly with Barry family members and Nashville movers and shakers, including the Rev. Dr. Judy Cummings, who wowed the crowd with her introduction of the candidate, and “Nashville” star Connie Britton, who just stood and looked luminous. Then, as her jubilant supporters cheered and chanted her name, the woman who may become Music City’s first female mayor took to the podium. She thanked the crowd for its support, graciously acknowledged her opponents, and outlined her progressive agenda. Her main point, of course, was that the race is not yet won.

“We’ve got five weeks to go,” said Megan Barry. “To those who did not vote for me, I want to earn your vote. If you did … I want to earn your vote again.”

The choice is clear, Nashville progressives. The volunteer campaigning kicks off again Monday, as the field director warned me. The runoff comes Sept. 10; vote y’all. Tonight, however, we celebrated.

Get full election results here.

Enjoy this slideshow of images from the party. We had a blast. Photos by ND


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