NASHVILLE, Tennessee–About a dozen volunteers gathered on Saturday morning at the Travel America center in Antioch to begin a day of door knocking for Tim Herndon, the conservative candidate in the special election to pick a new Metro Council member from Davidson County/Nashville’s 33rd District that will be held on August 15.
The special election will be the first test of public opinion in Davidson County and Nashville since the Metro Council sponsors of a sanctuary city ordinance withdrew their proposal in late June, barely a week before it was scheduled for a third and final reading.
The ordinance passed on a second reading June 20 by a 25 to 8 vote, with 4 members abstaining, and 2 members not voting, but without a vote cast by a council member representing the 33rd district, since that seat has been vacant since May, when the incumbent, Sam Coleman, accepted an appointment as a judge.
The special election will be held on August 15. Early voting runs from July 26 to August 10.
At full strength there are 40 members of the Metro Council-5 are elected at large, and 35 are elected by Council District.
A recent Tennessee Star Poll showed that, contrary to claims by the sanctuary city ordinances sponsors, support for the proposal was not “widespread.” In fact, according to the poll, likely voters in Davidson County/Nashville were evenly split on the issue.
That fact, conservatives who live in Nashville say, confirms that even though the city voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential election, its citizens are no where near as liberal as places like San Francisco, which have aggressively adopted sanctuary city policies.
In fact, the Tennessee Star Poll showed that as many 11 current members of the Metro Council–5 at-large members and 6 members elected by district–are at re-election risk in 2019 because they voted against the interests of a large number of their constituents.
That same Tennessee Star Poll showed that District 33 was in a group of seven districts where the poll showed a statistical tie between supporters and opponents of the sanctuary city ordinace among likely voters.
In fourteen districts the majority of likely voters opposed the sanctuary city ordinance, while in fourteen district they supported it.
Herndon, who owns Financial BluePrint, has made it clear he opposes sanctuary city proposals, but the main theme of his campaign, as he told The Tennessee Star in an exclusive interview, is to promote the 33rd District.
“My family has lived in District 33 for 25 years,” Herndon, whose wife Angie and daughter Evie joined him in his door-knocking efforts on Saturday, told The Star.
“The reason I’m running is I want to work to change the perception, change the narrative of District 33 and the Antioch area. I believe we can do it,” Herndon said.
“There’s a false narrative out there about Antioch 37013 and District 33. It’s not true, and I’m running to try to change it,” he added.
“We’re going to do it through zoning. We’re going to do it by cleaning up the mess we got out there, cleaning up the litter. We’re going to do it through strengthening the police,” Herndon explained.
Herndon is not the only candidate for the seat, and tells The Star he considers himself an underdog.
Jack Byrd III, a former local SEIU official who some consider the front runner, has a fairly difficult hurdle to overcome: he is currently under indictment.
“Jack Byrd wants to be Antioch’s next Metro Councilmember. He’s also under indictment for extortion,” WSMV reported in June:
Byrd used to be a reserve officer at the Lynnville Police Department in Giles County.
The city aldermen voted to dissolve the reserve officer program and Byrd’s job.
According to Giles County District Attorney Brent Cooper, Byrd threatened an alderman with an audio recording, saying something along the lines of “if you don’t reinstate the program, I’ll release the recording.”
That, the DA said is extortion, and Byrd has been indicted in Giles County.
Last week, the Central Labor Council of Nashville and Middle Tennessee of the AFL- CIO announced “a favorable recommendation for two candidates: Antoinette Lee and Jack Byrd III.”
Delegates from five Locals interviewed three of the six candidates running for the Antioch-area seat and were pleased that two had strong ties to labor. Antoinette Lee has been a Tennessee Education Association lobbyist and staff woman, and Jack Byrd III is a former SEIU Local 205 member and steward. Both candidates polled strongly on issues important to our affiliates and were vocal about their commitment to let Labor guide their position on issues that come across their desk.
In 2015, Byrd was terminated from his position as a reserve officer with the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office.
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