Apr 11, 2022 - Politics

Darren Jernigan v. Jim Gotto, part III

Illustration of the Tennessee State Capitol building with lines radiating from it.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

As far as Nashville political rivalries go, the battle between state Rep. Darren Jernigan and former state Rep. Jim Gotto stands alone.

Why it matters: Gotto, a Republican, submitted paperwork last week to challenge Jernigan, the Democratic incumbent, for the House seat covering the eastern edge of Davidson County.

  • It's the third time Gotto has faced off against Jernigan, who has won the previous two elections.

Flashback: A member of the Metro Council, Gotto won the District 60 seat in 2010.

  • Jernigan, a fellow council member, ran for the seat in 2012 and defeated Gotto by a mere 95 votes.
  • Gotto sought a rematch in 2014, but Jernigan distanced himself to win by more than 1,000 votes. Jernigan hasn't been threatened with a close race since.

Between the lines: Republicans already enjoy a veto-proof supermajority in the state House, but District 60 is one of the few Democratic seats that could be flipped.

  • The district spans parts of Old Hickory, Hermitage and Donelson and is viewed as a 50-50 seat.
  • Democrats currently hold every state House seat representing Davidson County.

What he's saying: "I look forward to running for reelection," Jernigan tells Axios. "And regarding Mr. Gotto, I can't wish him luck, but I wish him well."

  • Gotto didn't respond to requests for comment.

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