The progressive voting bloc that emerged on the last Metro Council will continue as a number of districts elected left-leaning candidates. Three of the contests will go to a runoff. Below were some of the higher profile or more fiercely contested races of the cycle. For a complete list of district results, click here.
District 1: Joy Kimbrough
Joy Kimbrough beat four opponents — Ruby Baker, Sean Dailey, Rob Harris, Joy Kimbruogh, and Timothy Thompson – to win district one, the largest council district seat in Davidson county. Before previous representative Jonathan Hall, the district has had trouble keeping someone in the seat. Despite being one of the last to enter the race, Kimbrough, an attorney, outspent and out-fundrased her competitors, spending $46,996 and raising $49,506 in total with $35,000 of in self loans. Kimbrough told the Banner in a questionnaire that her top three priorities for the district are “district economic parity between neighborhoods,” “Transparency and Communication between the district and councilperson” and “Smart growth.” She was endorsed by Tennessee Advocates for Planned Parenthood and Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition Votes.
District 4: Blalock vs. Cortese
In District 4, a rezoning brought three unlikely candidates together, and two – Davette Blalock and Mike Cortese — will head to a runoff. Despite having a long list of progressive endorsements, candidate Brian Sullivan did not make it. Blalock, a conservative-leaning real estate agent and previous District 27 councilmember, told the Banner in a questionnaire that her top three priorities for the council are to “improve infrastructure including thoughtful development, make Metro more efficient like being able to call and get a real person on the phone, keep spending down while fully funding the police, fire and paying teachers and all metro employees a deserved wage.” Cortese, an adjunct professor at Belmont and previous District 27 resident, said that his top priorities are “keeping Nashville Affordable, creating a better quality of life for residents: Reinvesting revenue from downtown back into our communities – road upgrades, sidewalks, green spaces, community services, public safety, making sure there is a strong dialogue and line of communication between the city government & District 4 Residents.” District 4 is a jigsaw, where signs for both Trump and Biden have been staked in yards in past presidential elections, and Blalock outspent Cortese by about $14,129 trying to reach these voters. Yet, Cortese out-fundraised Blalock by about $560.
District 6: Clay Capp
Clay Capp won the East Nashville seat currently occupied by Bret Withers. Originally three candidates entered this race, but after Brandes Holcomb dropped out and endorsed Capp, it became a face-off between Capp, a public defender and Daniel McDonnell, an urban planner, on the direction of East Nashville. In response to adverse legislation from the state, Capp said the council seat needs to “protect the rights of the people.” McDonnell said the council seat needs to bring funding together for better infrastructure in the district. Going into the final disclosure, Capp had $25,251 more cash on hand, but McDonnell quickly pivoted and outraised Capp by $6,608 in the final quarter, receiving slightly more from a realtors PAC that showed interest in both candidates in the last weeks of the race.
District 9: Tonya Hancock
In District 9, Incumbent Tonya Hancock beat Stephanie Montenegro by a single point in what became one of the most-watched races in the city. Montenegro’s late entry into the race was a surprise, and District 9 quickly became the battleground for disagreement between two factions on the Metro Council. One section, made up of a group of five progressive members, endorsed Montenegro, a rare move against a sitting councilmember. CM Sandra Sepulvada even donated so much to Montenegro that money had to be returned for being over the limit. In response, 11 councilmembers endorsed Hancock. As the incumbent, Hancock had an advantage in fundraising and name ID, out-fundraising Montenegro by more than $10,000 in the second quarter. But after a late start, Montenegro caught up by the last disclosure, out-fundraising Hancock by $4,977, but it wasn’t enough. When Montenegro jumped in the race a full financial quarter later than Hancock, Hancock already had a big warchest on hand and outspent Montenegro by $28,176.
District 11: Eslick vs. Patton
District 11’s history of tight races continues, as Steve Smith associate Jeff Eslick and Artemis CPA customer relations director Eric Patton head to a runoff election. Originally, four candidates entered this race, but only the top fundraisers prevailed. Eslick raised $92,511, with $77,109 coming from personal loans. A large chunk of this money was spent on TV ads, which is rare for a council race. Patton raised $55,655, from mostly individual donors, including a few council members. While Patton wants to see the district have safer, well-funded schools, improved city services and support for local small businesses, Eslick sees priorities for the district as “safety, limiting the number of homeless encampments and growth management.” Eslick did not receive any public endorsements while Patton emphasized his support from Tennessee Advocates for Planned Parenthood, Central Labor Council, ChangeTN, SEIU Local 205, Metro Nashville Education Association PAC for Education and Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition Votes.
District 16: Welsch
Ginny Welsch, the outspoken progressive who called herself “the No. 1 target” of the business PACs, escaped a challenge from realtor Alexa Little. The race was one of the most fiercely contested by outside interests as Save My Fairgrounds, the Chamber’s A Better Nashville PAC and a Murfreesboro-located PAC all dropped direct mail against Welsch. But Welsch enjoyed an advantage over Little in fundraising and had planned ahead, entering 2023 with more than $23,000. Welsch had angered some in the district not for her progressive views but for failing to hold enough community meetings and that made her vulnerable to a challenge from Little, who leaned heavily on outside support.
District 17: Terry Vo
Despite Tonya Esquibel’s big spending, Terry Vo emerged victorious in the Fairgrounds-centered district. Among other things, the contest became the race of the billionaire owner of Nashville Soccer Club, John Ingram. Both Teaka Jackson and Tonya Esquibel received donations from A Better Nashville, a PAC that got a significant portion of its funding from Ingram. In the last few weeks, Ingram donated directly to racetrack opponent Vo, who also received the endorsement of the district incumbent Colby Sledge. Vo, a community advocate, wants to see better housing and community development in the district. The district also includes the neighborhoods surrounding the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway. With the Speedway deal deferred to the next council, Vo will have to get to work fast, without any previous experience on the council.
District 19: Jacob Kupin
In a three-way race to fill Freddie O’Connell’s downtown District 19 seat, Jacob Kupin, the fundraising machine, rose above the rest, and won. Jacob Kupin raised $120,967, not only making him the top fundraiser in his race but a top fundraiser among all district council contests. $18,000 came from 10 different LLCs owned by Icon Entertainment owner Bill Miller. Jasper Hendricks trailed far behind with $35,601 raised and Jonathan Turner, even farther, with $23,631 raised. A Better Nashville, gave both Kupin and Hendricks $5,000. A realtor that has lived in Nashville for 10 years, Kupin ran for income-aligned housing, to focus on a list of residential needs, and smart growth that supported better infrastructure.
District 25: Jeff Preptit
Jeff Preptit, the only Democratic-Party-leaning candidate in his race, received 56 percent of the vote in the District 25 three-man race. Now he represents parts of Green Hills, Oak Hill and Radnor Lake State natural Area. Russ Pulley has represented the district for eight years and Preptit represents a new, more progressive piece to the area. Preptit said in an interview that his campaign was “running on … equity, justice and community safety.” He wants to address stormwater infrastructure, community safety, housing, education, development and infrastructure. Preptit received the most group endorsements and raised and spent more than double what his competitors did.
District 29: Tasha Ellis vs. John Reed
In the four-candidate District 29 race, only the two former political consultants – Tasha Ellis and John Reed – continue to the runoff election. The seat was previously held by Delishia Porterfield, who gave it up for a chance to run in the At-Large race. Throughout the contest, Reed emphasized affordable housing, traffic issues, and defending LGBTQ and reproductive rights while Ellis said she wants to focus on public safety, homelessness, early childhood and youth development. Reed received a single endorsement from the Nashville Business Coalition. Ellis received a long list of endorsements, including the Central Labor Council, SEIU Local 205, Metro Nashville Education Association PAC for Education, Nashville Business Coalition, Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition Votes and The Equity Alliance Fund. Both spent and fundraised the most in their district race. High spending has been a pattern for Ellis this campaign season, raising $20,180 and spending $19,519 in the second disclosure period. She entered the pre-general election disclosure period with $661, and has $18,543 in debt to her strategy firm.