With 13 candidates running for mayor in the next three weeks, it’s a challenge both for residents to keep track of them — and for the candidates themselves to find a way to stand out in a crowded race.
At a mayoral forum last night at the Nashville Public Library, moderators from the Tennessean and WSMV tried to corral the group by giving them a minute each to answer questions.
Still, a race with 13 contenders can feel at times a bit like a circus. Actor and carpenter Jon Sewell treated the whole process as a joke: He explicitly asked the audience not to vote for him.
“Because I have a four-fold platform: It’s corruption, hypocrisy, influence and taxes," he said to incredulous laughs. "It’s going to happen with or without me, and I’m not that good at my program. So I'm encouraging people to vote for the other candidates.”
All of his challengers were more earnest, even those who said they were running merely to participate in an important civic process. A handful, including retired Vanderbilt professor Carol Swain, tried to stand out by positioning themselves as bringing conservative perspectives to a largely progressive city government.
“I’m a strong supporter of the Constitution and the Second Amendment," she responded to a question about gun control. "The cities that have the toughest gun control laws tend to be the highest-crime cities."
Only one candidate was absent from the forum: Ludye Wallace. This was notable because he is the reason why the other 12 contenders were at the library last night. Wallace was the plaintiff in a recent case before the Tennessee Supreme Court that moved Nashville’s next mayor’s race from August up to May 24, but he has told WPLN he's not planning to campaign.
Get to know the 13 candidates at WPLN's list of all 13, their bios and key points from their platforms.