Top row, from left: Burkley Allen, Chris Cheng, Delishia Porterfield, Howard Jones. Bottom row, from left: Jeff Syracuse, Olivia Hill, Quin Evans-Segall, Russ Pulley Credit: Campaign photos

When the ballot was finalized in May, the Banner asked questions of each council candidate on a range of major issues that the current Council faced (and which the next Metro Council may face as well). We have compiled their answers into these mini-profiles for each at-large candidate who qualified for the runoff on Aug. 3. If you would like to read their full answers, you can find their individual pages in our Voter’s Guide.

Burkley Allen

Allen received 7.97 percent of the vote in the general election, securing the second spot in the runoff. She is running for a second term as councilmember at-large. She previously served two terms as the District 18 council representative. She voted in favor of both the Titans stadium deal and license plate readers (LPRs) but does not support use of facial recognition technology by the city. Affordable housing is one of her top priorities, and as a councilmember, not only has she participated in the affordable housing task force, but she also worked to pass multiple pieces of housing-related legislation, including one allowing people to build Detached Accessory Dwelling Units in their backyard. She played a significant role in regulating short-term rentals, requiring permits and enforcement. She says the city needs to secure dedicated funding for transit and believes community engagement will be an essential aspect of getting people on board to avoid a failure similar to the transit referendum that was defeated in 2018. 

She was one of the highest fundraisers among the at-large candidates, and received endorsements from the Fraternal Order of Police, the Nashville Business Coalition and the Central Labor Council. Throughout the election season, it was uncommon to go to any mayoral forums or political events without seeing Allen there wearing a big button with her name on it. 

Chris Cheng 

Cheng received 5.78 percent of the vote in the general election, securing the seventh spot in the runoff. He might be recognizable from his hot sauce business, Hot Sauce Nashville, which he owns with his wife and sells at local farmers’ markets. He was also a captain in the U.S. Army, serving as a Ranger. One of his top priorities is supporting small businesses, and he says he hopes that the new Titans’ stadium deal will encourage people to spend more money at local restaurants and businesses. On the question of more police and LPRs, he is open to discussion and wants to ensure there are open lines of communication to see what is best for the city. He wants to explore options for dedicated transit funding, and, aside from upgrading bus services, wants to encourage regional transit systems. 

Of the at-large candidates who made the runoff, Cheng raised the least amount of money. He received endorsements from the Fraternal Order of Police, SEIU Local 105 and the Central Labor Council. 

Quin Evans-Segall 

Evans-Segall received 6.78 percent of the vote in the general election, securing the fifth spot in the runoff. She serves on Nashville’s industrial development board. Although typically a somewhat invisible government body, during her time on the board she pushed back on deals the city cut, such as one with Montgomery Bell Academy. She co-founded Voices for a Safer Tennessee and has served on several nonprofit and community boards and committees. She is a lawyer by day. Her top priorities involve updating city government to be more effective and efficient and better able to carry out vital tasks such as updating the bus system. She does not think the Titans’ stadium plan was a good deal, and she has concerns over LPR usage. 

Evans-Segall was the highest spender in pre-general campaign finance disclosures, but went into the runoff with one of the least amounts of cash on hand, second only to Cheng. She received endorsements from the Nashville Justice League, SEIU Local 205 and Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition Votes.

Olivia Hill 

Hill received 6.78 percent of the vote in the runoff election, securing the third spot in the runoff. She first news when she sued Vanderbilt over allegedly discriminating against her because she’s transgender. She has worked to advocate for women and the LGBT community. A veteran of the Navy, her top priorities are infrastructure, homelessness and transportation. She does not believe the city should use LPRs. While she did not take a position on the Titans’ stadium deal, she now wants to focus on the surrounding neighborhoods and update the transportation and utilities downtown. She believes we need to expand the bus system and establish a dedicated funding source for transit. 

Of the candidates in the runoff, Hill raised the third most money in the pre-general disclosure period, and spent nearly as much as she raised. She received endorsements from the Nashville Justice League, the Nashville Business Coalition and the Equity Alliance Fund. 

Howard Jones 

Jones received 6.65 percent of the vote in the runoff election, securing the fourth spot in the runoff. He might be a familiar name to anyone who has voted in Nashville recently, as he has run for office multiple times, including a bid for circuit court judge last year. He has worked as a high school principal, a senior pastor, and a community organizer. His top priority is community safety, and he says he believes the city needs more police officers beyond the unfilled positions. He said he would not have voted for the Titans’ stadium deal, and he supports LPR usage and facial recognition technology. He says he believes that if the city can do a deal like the Titans’ stadium, it should be able to put together a $1 billion plan to address affordable housing. He would support a dedicated funding source for transit and says WeGo should be updated to support the city’s needs. 

Jones did not turn in a pre-general financial disclosure, and was sent to the state by the Davidson County Election Commission. He received an endorsement from the Equity Alliance Fund. 

Delishia Porterfield 

Porterfield received 9.06 percent of the vote in the general election, less than 1 percent off of the 10 percent threshold required to win the seat outright, finishing in the first spot in the runoff. She is the only one of the three district councilmembers running who is not term-limited. She was first elected to the District 29 in 2019 through a special election, before winning the seat in the general election that August. She was against the Titans’ stadium deal, does not support usage of LPRs, and rather than invest in more police officers, wants to invest in affordable housing, creating well-paying jobs and other community programming to decrease crime. She is one of the few candidates who definitively says a property tax adjustment will be required in the next four years to meet the city’s needs. She joined Suara in the lawsuit against the state over legislation to cut the metro council in half, and has been an outspoken voice against many of the state’s actions during the past session. She also made headlines when 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.   

Porterfield received endorsements from the Nashville Justice League, Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition Votes and the Equity Alliance Fund. 

Russ Pulley

Pulley received 5.88 percent of the vote in the general election, securing the sixth spot in the runoff. Pulley is term-limited in District 25. He is a retired FBI agent and spent 24 years officiating college football in the Southeastern Conference. He has participated in various community organizations and church groups in the Green Hills area. He voted yes on the Titans stadium deal, wants to invest in more police and “strongly” supports LPR usage. Crime, public safety and affordability are some of his top priorities. During the 2020 budget cycle, he pushed for a $2 million increase in the Metro Nashville Police Department budget, despite an attempt from current at-large councilmember Bob Mendes to strip that from the budget. Recently, he was a primary opponent of a bill from District 5 Councilmember Sean Parker that redefined “family” in the zoning code, allowing more unrelated individuals to live in a single household. 

Pulley went into the runoff with the third most cash on hand. He received endorsements from the Fraternal Order of Police and the Nashville Business Coalition. 

Jeff Syracuse 

Syracuse received 5.42 percent of the vote in the general election, securing the final runoff spot. He is one of three district council members vying for a promotion to an at-large seat. He is wrapping up his second term as the District 15 representative in the Donelson area. He voted in favor of both the Titans’ stadium deal and LPRs. He has spent his career working in the music industry, and during his two terms placed a strong emphasis on preserving the music business in Nashville. He is in favor of Nashville dedicating funding to transit and increasing WeGo’s bus services. Syracuse also has played a big role in advocating for better trash pick-up, and pressuring Red River, a waste service contractor, to be more consistent with their pick-ups. He was also responsible for legislation late last year that banned smoking in bars and concert venues, a bill that was met with contention from local dive bars. He supports having another transit referendum and wants to see a big emphasis on regional transit.

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 has received endorsements from the Fraternal Order of Police, the Nashville Business Coalition and LiUNA! Local 386.