The Tennessee Star Report: Gill and Leahy Ponder, Why Is the Nashville Mayoral Race So Quiet?


On Wednesday’s Tennessee Star Report with Steve Gill and Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 am to 8:00 am – Gill and Leahy pondered why the Mayoral race in Nashville was so quiet and questioned why Swain and Cooper weren’t utilizing an attack while Briley was throwing them softballs.

Towards the end of the segment, the men discussed how Davidson County is a deep blue county and will unfortunately always be that way.

Gill: A lot of folks are taking this whole week off.

Leahy: Yeah.

Gill: We’re going to take off Thursday and Friday. (Gill laughs)

Leahy: You know who’s really taking the week off, is all the challengers to David Briley. He’s throwing them softballs and they’re not hitting back.

Gill: Yeah, he’s giving a pay raise to teachers with money that’s not in the till and not giving pay raises to police officers, first responders, and firefighters because he doesn’t think he’ll get their votes anyway. And he figures he can buy the teachers votes. And Briley, giving away pay raises with money we don’t have.

Leahy: And the fraternal order of police, of course, endorsed John Cooper. Not David Briley and he’s broken his promise to give them pay raises many a time. They don’t like it and so he’s written them off. He’s written the police off. I think that would be a fair statement.

Gill: Well and the interesting thing in this whole mayoral race is how quiet it is.

Leahy: Really.

Gill: You don’t see yard signs around. There’s not any enthusiasm just kind of bursting at the seams. You’re not getting people that I’m talking to. Nobody’s really talking about it. They’re going, “Yeah, when’s the election?”

Leahy: And why aren’t John Cooper and Carol Swain and John Ray Clemons just hitting hard against Mayor Briley’s basically proposal to provide a three percent cost of living increase and a three percent raise to teachers on money that he doesn’t have. In a budget that’s basically illegal because it’s not balanced because it includes I think like thirty million bucks from this allegedly abandoned sell the parking rights scheme.

Gill: Well and you’ve got the sell the thermal plant. Sell various properties to pay for one year only of revenue but they’re using it to pay for ongoing revenue. So it’s kind of like, “Let’s just get past the election and then we’ll worry that we’ve got no revenue and that we’re going to bounce checks and that the city is going to be headed towards bankruptcy or high taxes.”

Leahy: But why are Carol Swain and John Cooper silent? Why aren’t they just attacking attacking attacking on this?

Gill: That’s a good question. I don’t know. (Leahy chuckles) I think that they’re playing the rope a dope method of they just think that they’re going to get into a runoff and then they’ll step it up. One of them’s misreading the polls. They’re both at about 20 percent. You’ve got Briley at about 29, 30 percent.

Leahy: Right.

Gill: So they figure ok, we’re going to have a runoff. The only question is are we going to have a runoff between Carol Swain and Briley or John Cooper and Briley. Now if its, according to the Triton polling and other polling that I’ve seen, if it’s Carol Swain versus Briley, then Briley wins handily.

Leahy: Easily.

Gill: And frankly if I’m Briley I’m not sure why I’m not having some third party folks out there bumping up Carol Swain to make sure she makes it into the runoff.

Leahy: Well in our poll which showed in the head to head race that Briley has 28 percent, Carol Swain has 21 percent and John Cooper has almost 20 percent, like 19.8  percent.

Gill: And John Ray Clemons is like ten.

Leahy: Ten percent. A nonfactor. But when we just do the runoff match-up between David Briley and Carol Swain or David Briley and John Cooper, John Cooper wins. 42-31. But Briley just crushes Carol Swain 50 to 31.

Gill: Cooper wins by ten. Carol Swain loses by 20.

Leahy: Yeah. Pretty much.

Gill: Again if I’m Briley I want to run against Carol Swain and I’d try to make sure some folks are helping me make sure she makes the runoff instead of Cooper. I talked to a few people over the last week. Some of whom are donors to Carol Swain’s campaign. I mean they like Carol. They’d love it Davidson County was more conservative and could elect a Carol Swain. They’re donating money to her but they’re not going to vote for her because they realize that you’ve got Cooper and Briley both of whom are liberal. Briley and Cooper are both left wing whack jobs in social issues.

The difference is Cooper is at least somewhat fiscally moderate. I wouldn’t call him a fiscal conservative but he at least recognizes that we’re heading towards the doom and gloom disaster of high tax increases. Driving more businesses out of the Nashville, Davidson County community and being unable to balance our budgets. We’re headed towards bankruptcy. Cooper recognizes it.

Leahy: Yeah.

Gill: Briley’s moving into the HOV lane and putting the pedal to the medal to get us there faster. That’s the choice. You’re going to end up with a liberal Mayor of Nashville. The question is, are you going to end up with a liberal Mayor who’s trying to be fiscally responsible which would be John Cooper or a liberal Mayor who’s fiscally completely irresponsible.

Leahy: Carol Swain on this race said, “The Mayor’s taking no responsibility for the unwise budgetary choices he and the Metro Council made and his continued leadership of city government would be a problem.” Well ok, that’s great. But that’s not exactly a hard-hitting punch in the mouth.

Gill: Well and again a lot of folks are saying, “Aren’t you conservative? Why aren’t conservatives helping Carol Swain?” Davidson County is a county that overwhelmingly voted for Hillary Clinton. It is a dark blue county. If Carol Swain moved to San Francisco she wouldn’t get elected Mayor of San Francisco either. Nashville is essentially Tennessee’s San Francisco. It is liberal. It is blue. I don’t like it. I wish it was different. It’s carrying weight around the neck of entire Middle Tennessee and the entire state. Our school system is tearing down our numbers statewide. But reality is still reality. And if people want to live in a fantasy land, ride a unicorn…

Leahy: Steve, reality?

Gill: And cute rainbows.  Well God bless you. But it’s not reality. So Davidson County is not a red county.

Leahy: No. Never will be.

Gill: Get over it.

Listen to the full hour:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 am to the Tennessee Star Report with Steve Gill and Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “David Briley” by David Briley. Photo “John Cooper” by John Cooper. Background Photo “Nashville City Hall” by euthman. CC BY-SA 2.0.



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