YouTube video

Ad: “Top Priority”

Candidate: Freddie O’Connell

Transcript: “ I’m Freddie O’Connell. You and I both know the future of Nashville is not a game. Our families have a lot on the line. As our mayor, I’ll invest in our police, fire, teachers and public health professionals. And we’ll make transit work for everyone. Together, we can build a Nashville for Nashvillians, with solutions that actually help families. Stronger schools and safer neighborhoods. When I’m mayor, Nashville families are finally going to be Metro’s top priority.”

Analysis: O’Connell is the first of the two runoff candidates to return to the airwaves after the Aug. 3 election. This 30-second ad, like his closing ad featuring his oldest daughter, eschews the theatrics of his “billionaires and bachelorettes” football game spot for a simple meal with family. It’s notable for two things: First, the pivot back to the center is on. As well-funded, multi-candidate fields in the non-partisan Nashville elections behave more and more like primaries, O’Connell successfully consolidated the city’s progressives behind him while Alice Rolli got enough conservatives to make the runoff. Now, both candidates will attempt to pick up voters between them who chose other candidates (see O’Connell’s recent endorsements by Jim Gingrich, Matt Wiltshire, Jeff Yarbro and Heidi Campbell). O’Connell’s first words on the screen — “invest in the police” — are not an accident. Independent expenditure ads by Steve Smith have already attempted to paint O’Connell as being outside the mainstream, and this ad is designed to rebut that perception. Second, he’s placed it across local TV news programming with a significant buy — $91,000 for the next week — at a time Rolli’s campaign and the outside groups supporting her have yet to launch anything. Sometimes speed matters, and for the next week, at least, O’Connell appears to have the airwaves to himself. 

Where people can see it: Broadcast, streaming, online.

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...