Credit: Stones River Group/Special to the Banner

Precinct-level data from the mayoral election shows that Alice Rolli’s strongest support — where she had 30 percent of the vote or more — came from areas that touch the edge of the county: Forest Hills, Oak Hill, Bellevue, Joelton and Hermitage. Meanwhile, O’Connell performed best in higher-density areas like East Nashville, inside the I-440 loop, The Fairgrounds Nashville area and the Nations.

In areas where one of the two runoff qualifiers did not finish first, Sharon Hurt won a few precincts in North Nashville, Vivian Wilhoite picked up some ballot boxes in the southeast while Matt Wiltshire, who finished third, picked up a handful of precincts around the central and southeast portions of the county.

O’Connell did two things that helped him break away from the pack. First, he was competitive across the board, finishing in the top three in precincts with more than 50 voters in all but three. 

Second, in the 31 biggest precincts across the county — ones that had 1,000 or more ballots cast — O’Connell was the leading vote-getter by more than 1,100 votes. He won 12 of them, and in seven got 40 percent or more of the vote.

At Cleveland Community Center in East Nashville, O’Connell got 539 votes, while Wiltshire got only 123 votes as the second-highest at the precinct. At Belmont University’s Sports Science Center, the biggest precinct in the city, O’Connell got 755 of the 1,865 votes cast, or 40.5 percent. He ran up his tally in more liberal areas while he remained competitive in some more traditionally conservative venues.

Rolli, meanwhile, won 17 of the 31 biggest boxes. Her best performance was at Belle Meade City Hall, where she took 47 percent of the 1,075 votes cast. But unlike O’Connell, Rolli didn’t have as many sizable wins, with Belle Meade being her only precinct above 40 percent. 

The only other candidate to win at one of the biggest precincts was Sharon Hurt, who finished first at Cathedral of Praise (380 votes) and Robert E. Lillard School (368 votes). 

Wiltshire finished second in 17 of the biggest precincts. By contrast to O’Connell and Rolli, his only wins came in small places, like Rural Hill Church of Christ in Antioch (75 votes) and Church of the Redeemer in Oak Hill (50 votes). In the 10 precincts he won, Wiltshire totaled 329 votes.

Additional reporting by Connor Daryani and Addison Wright.

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...