Metro Councilman John Cooper enters the runoff for mayor as the early favorite to unseat incumbent David Briley. Cooper seized a 10-point lead in the first round of voting, but the next six weeks leading up to election day on Sept. 12 will be crucial to both candidates.
WPLN’s Jason Moon Wilkins sat down with Tony Gonzalez to examine the race and look ahead to the runoff.
Listen to the conversation above. Highlights:
- Briley’s second-place finish could foreshadow the first defeat of an incumbent since 1951.
- Cooper delivered a consistent message that many voters recited at the polls — a promise to deliver more Metro resources to neighborhoods.
- Cooper has been most critical of Briley’s affordable housing plan.
- Supporters of Briley voiced a desire for consistency in the mayor’s office, with some suggesting he deserves more time to see his policies through.
- Briley has indicated he’ll ask tougher questions of Cooper before the runoff, and says the councilman has a divisive message that pits neighborhoods against downtown.
- Briley has somewhat more funding on hand than Cooper, but the councilman has shown a willingness to self-fund — and he outspent Briley two-to-one in the home stretch.
- Early voting begins Aug. 23 and Election Day is Sept. 12. That ballot also includes four at-large seats on the Metro Council and eight district council runoffs.