May 5, 2022 - Politics

Partisan school board matchups are set

Illustration of a pattern of checkmarks, some blue, some red.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

On the heels of Tuesday's primaries, the stage is set for Nashville's new partisan school board elections in August.

Why it matters: The Davidson County Democratic and Republican parties voted earlier this year to hold partisan primaries, potentially making it more difficult for right-leaning candidates to win school board seats.

Be smart: With District 4 board member John Little losing his primary race against predecessor Berthena Nabaa-McKinney and District 8 board member Gini Pupo-Walker not seeking reelection, just two incumbents will be on the ballot in August.

  • District 2 incumbent Rachael Anne Elrod, a Democrat, will face Republican Todd Pembroke, who won his primary by just six votes. Pembroke's campaign slogan is "No woke Pembroke." Independent Edward Arnold will also be on the ballot.
  • District 6 incumbent Fran Bush decided to run as an independent. She will face former board member Cheryl Mayes, who most recently worked as a staffer in U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper's office. Mayes also ground out a primary victory on Tuesday, winning by just 81 votes.
  • Nabaa-McKinney will be up against Republican Kelli Phillips in August.

State of play: The Democratic primary to replace Pupo-Walker was also a nail-biter — Erin O'Hara Block won by just 89 votes.

  • O'Hara Block will face independent candidate Amy Pate.
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