Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee resigned from the board of the Nashville Business Coalition Wednesday afternoon after he learned the group had endorsed David Briley for Mayor and asked other candidates not to contest their chosen pick in the August special election to select a replacement to serve out the balance of former Mayor Megan Barry’s term.
Lee sent out this tweet shortly after he learned of the Board’s decision when The Tennessee Star asked his campaign for comment.
I strongly disagree with the Nashville Business Coalition’s decision about the Nashville Mayoral race, and I opposed them taking this action. As a result, I have resigned from their board, effective immediately.
— Bill Lee (@BillLeeTN) March 7, 2018
“Leadership groups should not discourage others from entering the political process,” Lee added in a statement released to The Star.
“Nashville has many talented individuals who are extremely qualified to be considered for leadership roles and our community would benefit from their ideas. We should encourage more people to enter the political arena, not less,” Lee concluded.
Among the social media responses to Lee’s resignation from the Nashville Business Coalition board was this one on Twitter:
Good. The race should be open and @MayorBriley should not be given an important public office. He should earn it. Haven’t there been enough shenanigans concerning the office of mayor in Nashville?
— Crooked Metro (@BeckettLuther) March 7, 2018
Another response on Twitter asked for more details on the political machinations involve in the Nashville Business Coalitions’ call for no other candidates but Briley to compete in the August special election:
Can you explain more fully your opposition, @BillLeeTN ? My understanding is the Coalition is calling for stability, and that August is too soon for a credible alternative to Mayor Briley could surface with city-wide backing by then.
— Matthew Sullivan (@matthewsully) March 8, 2018
While political calculations are certainly at play in the decisions of potential candidates other than Briley to run in the the August special election for mayor, how the election will be conducted, when the election will be conducted, and who is allowed to compete as a candidate for the race is determined by the Metro Nashville Davidson County Charter, not the Nashville Business Coalition or any other political action committee.
“The Metro Charter requires that an election take place during the next Metro general election, which would take place Aug. 2 to replace Barry full-time. The Davidson County Election Commission is set to meet Friday to add the mayoral election to the ballot,” The Tennessean reported on Wednesday.
Any candidate who meets the requirements to run for mayor prior to the April 5 filing deadline will be on the ballot in August.
Lee, a Williamson County businessman, is one of four candidates vying for the Republican nomination for governor. The other three candidates are Tennessee Speaker of the House Beth Harwell (R-Nashville), Knoxville businessman Randy Boyd, and Rep. Diane Black (R-TN-06).