With so many candidates in this election cycle — and a large group of mayoral hopefuls fundraising as well — council candidate fundraising totals were not particularly high across the board. In all, candidates raised approximately $800,000 according to available campaign finance disclosures. (See note at bottom.) The only district candidate to break $50,000 for the quarter without a personal loan was Jacob Kupin in District 19, who raised $71,111. Terry Vo in District 17 was a distant second, raising $47,009. Leading the at-large field were Russ Pulley and Marcia Masulla with $130,397 and $107,100 raised, respectively.

PAC Spending

While a handful of PACs got involved in the district council races, one PAC’s spending dwarfed the others. Thirteen district council candidates across 12 districts accepted donations from A Better Nashville, a PAC with ties to John Ingram and the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce that injected $85,000 into the district races. Three incumbents received the largest donations at $7,500 a piece: District 9 Councilmember Tonya Hancock, District 10 Councilmember Zach Young and District 34 Councilmember John Rutherford. Notably, in District 19, the PAC gave $5,000 to two of the three candidates: Kupin and Jasper Hendricks III

Here’s a full rundown of the second-quarter donations made by A Better Nashville:

CandidateAmount of Donation
Tonya Hancock$7,500
Zach Young$7,500
John Rutherford$7,500
Jordan Huffman$5,000
Jeff Gregg$5,000
Tonya Esquibel$5,000
Jasper Hendricks III$5,000
Jacob Kupin$5,000
Rollin Horton$5,000
Jason Spain$5,000
Sandy Ewing$5,000
Tasha Ellis$5,000
Tom Cash$2,500
Teaka Jackson$5,000
Sherard Edington$5,000
Rob Harris$5,000

UPDATE, July 12, Noon: Teaka Jackson, Rob Harris and Sherard Edington’s donations have been added. These totals were obtained through candidate disclosures. A Better Nashville’s disclosure was not available yet.

District 17 High Rollers

Although all three candidates in District 17 have filed campaign finance disclosures, Teaka Jackson’s seems to be filled out erroneously. The disclosure shows zero money in the campaign. Jackson did not respond to the Banner’s request for comment. Terry Vo and Tonya Esquibel are going into the final stretch with $30,800.05 and $63,904.57 on hand respectively. 

Esquibel loaned herself $50,000 and raised $34,750. But notably, $15,700 came from 19 different LLCs, many of which are owned by Lower Broadway bar owner Steve Smith. Only $14,050 came from individual donors. 

Esquibel’s husband and campaign manager Dylan Peterson told the Banner they are unfamiliar with Steve Smith. 

Three donations to Vo came from PACs or LLCs: two $250 donations from Emily Benedict and Colby Sledge’s PACs, and a $450 donation from CaliforniaSouth Co. 

UPDATE, July 12, Noon: Teaka Jackson raised $14,240 and has $10,157 cash on hand. She received $5,000 from A Better Nashville PAC.

In Other Districts …

Over in East Nashville’s District 6, Clay Capp and Daniel McDonnell started the quarter on a relatively similar playing field financially, with $39,548 and $34,156 respectively. But Capp managed to raise $31,496 this quarter, greatly outpacing McDonnell, who raised $8,276. Going into the final stretch, Capp has $54,941 on hand and McDonnell has $29,690.

In District 10, incumbent Zach Young has a comfortable financial advantage over challenger Jennifer Webb. Webb loaned herself $10,000 and raised an additional $18,353. But Young, who started the quarter with $30,783 on hand, raised $25,686 and is going into the last weeks with $46,416 on hand compared to Webb’s $12,069. 

Young, who has been a staunch supporter of the Fairgrounds Speedway deal, received a $1,000 donation from Bristol Motor Speedway. 

Newcomer Stephanie Montenegro is scrambling to catch up to incumbent Tonya Hancock in Madison’s District 9. Not only did Hancock start the quarter with $16,207 on hand, she raised $18,325 compared to Montenegro’s $8,392, $2,000 of which came from District 30 CM Sandra Sepulveda’s PAC. Montenegro reported $6,757 on hand, and Hancock reported $14,198 on hand. 

As the highest earner in the race, Kupin greatly outpaced his competitors in District 19. Hendricks and Jonathan Turner raised $16,340 and $13,116 respectively, and report having $10,426 and $374 on hand compared to Kupin’s $60,542. 

Lee Beaman backed candidate Luke Elliott in District 34, but the conservative car dealer’s $1,800 donation wasn’t enough to keep Elliott in the game financially. His competitor, Sandy Ewing, raised $27,750 compared to his $7,045. Ewing reports $18,555 on hand, while Elliott reports $813 to close out the race.

While Jeff Preptit’s $22,816 raised in District 25 isn’t anything to call home about, with competitor Rolando Toyos only raising $2,340, it puts him in good shape for the race to be Russ Pulley’s successor. 


The top-earning at-large candidate in the second quarter was Pulley. The term-limited District 25 councilmember raised $130,397. But with only $123,857 on hand going into the home stretch, term-limited District 15 Councilmember Jeff Syracuse has him beat for cash on hand. Although Syracuse fell to sixth place in funds raised, he topped the field for available funds with $199,524. Incumbents Zulfat Suara and Burkley Allen raised nearly identical numbers, with $80,677 and $80,235 respectively. Of the top 6 raisers, Masulla is the only one to have never served on the council. She raised $107,100. 

NameRaisedCash on Hand
Jeff Syracuse $61,597$199,524
Russ Pulley$130,397$123,857
Burkley Allen$80,235$106,901
Marcia Masulla $107,100$92,883
Quin Evans-Segall$41,342.83$75,104
Zulfat Suara$80,677$73,739
Delishia Porterfield$70,876$60,966
Olivia Hill$32,632$12,729
Arnold Hayes$15,213$8,636
Chris Cheng$4,575$5,848
Chris Crofton$4,371$2,197
Indrani Ray$1,750$1,750
Howard Jones$12,226$959
Yolanda Hockett$4,849$878
Brian Hellwig$1,200$528
Tony Chapman$170$443
Delores Vandivort$100$125
Jonathan Williamson$0$0

UPDATE, July 12, Noon: Howard Jones and Delores Vandivort have been added.

One Last Thing

Due to technical difficulties at the Davidson County Election Commission, not all disclosures were available by the end of the day on Tuesday. Rick Brown, a DCEC employee who stayed until Midnight on Monday to help candidates, said that the commission will have a full list of non-filers by Wednesday and all filed disclosures will be available to the public.

Connor Daryani is a staff reporter. He has previously freelanced for the Nashville Scene and the Nashville Post covering the state legislature and Metro.

Steve is a three-decade veteran of newspapers, working around the country at places like the Washington Post and Chicago Tribune before returning home to Nashville in 2011 to edit The City Paper and Nashville...