Thursday, August 04, 2011

What tonight's election returns say to me

Several results from tonight's returns of this year's election suggest to me that Nashvillians are perfectly fine with how the Metro Council has moved toward holding Mayor Karl Dean in check over the last year or two:

  • A light voter turnout both during early voting and then in today's polling suggests to me that people were not mobilized to rally around a single philosophy of growth in Nashville nor were they motivated to come to the Mayor's aid as his agenda faced increasing opposition in the Metro Council.
  • Voters overwhelmingly supported the Fairgrounds charter amendment (71% "For" - 29% "Against") that would require the Mayor to get 6 more votes on the Metro Council before he can carry through with demolition plans at the Fairgrounds. That was a huge rebuff that eclipses the Mayor's wide margin of victory over 3 unknown, weak candidates. This result is vindication of the CMs who challenged the Mayor's redevelopment plan and leveraged a community-based planning process. The referendum win also sends a strong message to the newly elected class that they should check with voters before they decide to cave to heavy-handed growth designs of the Mayor's Office. If not, they may find their re-election chances at risk.
  • In three districts that the Mayor worked to flip votes against his capital projects to certain votes for them, he did not prove that his endorsements made much of a difference to voters. The biggest loss was Sarah Lodge Tally to CM Jason Holleman (by nearly 20 percentage points), where the challenger trucked in trailers full of outside cash and had former Dean and Bredesen insiders working her campaign. The second casualty was Tanaka Vercher, who was beat handily by conservative CM Duane Dominy. The third Deanie Baby, Page Turner, did not get enough votes to beat conservative CM Robert Duvall who himself did not get enough to avoid a run-off with Turner. Getting those three seats could have mitigated the referendum requirement of 6 votes to demolish. Predictably, Karl Dean is saying he has no Fairgrounds redevelopment plans tonight. He currently does not have enough committed votes because his coattails did not bring pocket votes in, yet.
  • One of Karl Dean's most loyal supporters, Anna Page, appears to have lost narrowly to her challenger. At least one mainstream reporter characterized her loss as having to do with running in a pro-Fairgrounds district. As of tonight, no incumbent that I am aware of has lost due to his or her opposition to Mayor Dean. The same code of loyalty that reportedly adheres in the Mayor's Office does not appeal to voters. I take that as an indication that they are comfortable with the Mayor being held in check.

Outside of the new class coming in, the defeat of Jim Hodge and a couple of run-offs, the voters stood pat on the current contentious balance between the Metro Council and the Mayor's Office. As long as the council continues to show increasing spine while demanding accountability on Karl Dean's projects, these are results that I can live with. We will need some new CMs to keep the referendum in view and step up to fill the vacuum of independent CMs who did not or could not run this time around.

After this ballot, the new ones have little reason not to.


  1. Dean also worked District 18. It was more last minute, but as the election came near, he came in and tried to help knock off Burkley Allen.

    Burkley lives in Megan Barry's backyard and Barry endorsed Glascow.

    So, chalk that one up as a losing race for Dean as well.

  2. Way to go Burkley!!