John Cooper | Nashville Public Radio

John Cooper

Meribah Knight / WPLN


One of Mayor David Briley’s defining programs was his ambitious plan to build more affordable housing. Known as Under One Roof, it committed half a billion dollars to the effort.

But after Briley lost in a landslide to Councilman John Cooper, the plan is likely to be scrapped.

John Cooper
Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

Nashville Mayor-elect John Cooper says he wants to improve the relationship between the city and the heavily Republican state legislature. He says it's been "needlessly hostile" in recent years.


Nashville's mayors have risen in prominence over recent years, not only because of the city’s skyrocketing growth but through outspoken political stances. By pushing LGBT initiatives, decriminalizing marijuana or curbing cooperation with immigration authorities, the city's leaders have run counter to the state’s Republican supermajority.

Whether that conflict continues has been a central issue in the runoff between Nashville's incumbent Mayor David Briley and Councilman John Cooper.

In the runoff for Nashville mayor, the candidates disagree on something fundamental: the core duties of the job.

The difference has emerged recently, with Councilman John Cooper describing the role as mostly administrative, while incumbent David Briley is injecting more partisan political stances into the contest.

Nashville bus
Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

Nashville’s bus system took a funding hit this year, and some routes will be eliminated later this month. But both candidates for mayor say they’d put a lot more money toward bus services next year.

The candidates agree, broadly, that WeGo’s bus service needs to get better.

David Briley and John Cooper
WPLN Staff

Read the transcript for the special show. 

Nashville’s next mayor will be chosen on Sept. 12, and the two in the runoff — incumbent David Briley and Metro Councilman John Cooper — have been making their case to voters in what has become an intense runoff campaign.

In this one-hour program, WPLN goes deep with the candidates on key subjects, like housing, transportation, the Metro budget and the role of the mayor. 

Nashville mayor forum

Nashville’s mayoral finalists have both opposed a property tax increase the past two years. But now, late in the campaign, Mayor David Briley has started to share a scenario in which he might be willing to make that move. 

Chas Sisk / WPLN

The runoff for Nashville mayor kicked into higher gear over the weekend, as incumbent David Briley and Metro Councilman John Cooper went head-to-head for the first time.

At a far-ranging debate organized by the faith group Nashville Organized for Action and Hope, or NOAH, the two battled over the direction of the city — and which candidate had shown a commitment to addressing its problems.

Nashville runoff election candidates
Staff / WPLN

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.

Meribah Knight / WPLN

Metro Councilman John Cooper dealt a surprising blow to Mayor David Briley's bid for a full term, seizing a 10-point lead in the first round of voting.

Cooper won 35% of the vote with  all precincts reporting. Briley received about 25% of the vote, setting up a head-to-head runoff between the two candidates.