Feb 17, 2023 - Politics

Scoop: Sen. Yarbro enters mayor's race

Jeff Yarbro

Sen. Jeff Yarbro. Photo: Courtesy of Senate Democratic Caucus

State Sen. Jeff Yarbro is running for Nashville mayor, he tells Axios, adding another viable candidate to the race.

Why it matters: Representing a senate district that stretches from Sylvan Park to Antioch, Yarbro has name recognition with thousands of voters. He also has shown fundraising prowess in the past, though he hasn't faced a serious challenger in the last few election cycles.

Flashback: Yarbro stormed onto the political scene by staging a Democratic primary challenge to Nashville institution Sen. Douglas Henry in 2010. Henry had served in the legislature since the 1950s and regularly breezed to re-election.

  • Yarbro's renegade bid fell 17 votes short, but he won the Senate seat in 2014 following Henry's retirement and has held the seat ever since.
  • His time in the legislature has been marked by attempts to fight off the Republican supermajority. He's championed increasing education funding and passed legislation to expand affordable child care.

Details: Yarbro has been mentioned as a possible mayoral or congressional candidate for the last decade. He went to Harvard and then got his law degree at the University of Virginia.

  • He's an attorney at the Bass, Berry & Sims law firm.

What he's saying: Yarbro said in an emailed statement the city's future should be set by Nashvillians, not "investors from all over the country or legislators from all over the state."

  • "Sometimes it feels like our city doesn't make those who live here the top priority. We see new stadiums, skyscrapers, and restaurants, but none of that matters unless Nashville is a great place to live and people can actually afford to live here."

State of play: Yarbro has some seed money to start his mayoral bid in the form of $145,980 remaining in his campaign account, according to his most recent filing on Jan. 25.

  • The other top candidates already in the race are businessperson Jim Gingrich, Councilmember Sharon Hurt, Councilmember Freddie O'Connell and former city official Matt Wiltshire.

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