Councilmember Zulfat Suara, the first Muslim woman elected to the Metro Council four years ago, won re-election on Thursday night, grabbing 10.6 percent of the vote and avoiding a runoff.
Eight candidates will make the runoff:
A runoff election will be held on Sept. 14, with early voting taking place from Aug. 25 to Sept. 9.
Narrowly missing the runoff were Marcia Masulla, Yolanda Hockett, Arnold Hayes, Chris Crofton and Ronnie Greer.
A Nigerian immigrant, Suara secured the last available seat in the 2019 runoff. She received endorsements from Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition Votes, the Nashville Business Coalition and the Equity Alliance Fund. Progressive activists criticized Suara for her vote in support of the Titans’ stadium.
Here are the candidates in the runoff:
Delishia Porterfield joined the at-large race relatively late. The current councilmember for District 29, she led the charge to reinstate Rep. Justin Jones after his expulsion, which was notable because Jones beat her for the District 52 state house seat in the 2022 election. She received endorsements from the Nashville Justice League, Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition Votes and the Equity Alliance Fund.
Burkley Allen is one of the two incumbents who ran this term. She previously served two terms as the District 18 Councilmember. She was one of the highest fundraisers in the at-large pool, and received endorsements from the Fraternal Order of Police, the Nashville Business Coalition and the Central Labor Council.
Olivia Hill would be the first transgender woman elected to the Metro Council should she win. She has been an active LGBT advocate in Nashville for years and made headlines when she sued Vanderbilt for allegedly discriminating against her for being transgender. She recieved endorsements from the Nashville Justice League, the Nashville Business Coalition and the Equity Alliance Fund.
Howard Jones is a perennial candidate who most recently ran for circuit court judge. He has worked as a high school principal, a senior pastor, and a community organizer. Jones did not file his pre-general financial disclosure on time and was sent to the state by the Davidson County Elections Commission. He received an endorsement from the equity alliance fund.
Quin Evans-Segall is an attorney who serves on Nashville’s industrial development board. Although typically a rather invisible government body, during her time on the board she pushed back on deals the city was making, such as one with the Montgomery Bell Academy. She was the highest spender in pre-general campaign finance disclosures. She received endorsements from the Nashville Justice League, SEIU Local 205 and Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition Votes.
Russ Pulley was the term-limited District 25 Councilmember before running for at-large. During his time as a district councilmember, he pushed hard for an increase to the Metro Nashville Police Department Budget. Another one of the highest fundraisers, he is a retired FBI agent. He received endorsements from the Fraternal Order of Police and the Nashville Business Coalition.
Chris Cheng might be recognizable from his hot sauce business, Hot Sauce Nashville, which he owns with his wife and sells at local farmers’ markets. Previously a captain in the U.S. Army, his fundraising numbers put him in the middle of the 21 person pack of at-large candidates. He received endorsements from the Fraternal Order of Police, SEIU Local 105 and the Central Labor Council.
Jeff Syracuse has been campaigning for at-large for longer than anyone in the pool. And as the top fundraiser, his finances show it. His fundraising numbers frequently put him at the top of the pack, and his cash on hand nearly doubled the numbers of the second-place campaign. His failure to spend some of it — he had $191,000 cash on hand in his last disclosure — nearly cost him the runoff. He is the term-limited District 17 Councilmember. He has received endorsements from the Fraternal Order of Police, the Nashville Business Coalition and LiUNA! Local 386.