Updated Jul 25, 2023 - Politics

A guide to Nashville's 2023 mayoral race

From top left: Heidi Campbell, Sharon Hurt, Freddie O'Connell, Alice Rolli, Vivian Wilhoite, Matt Wiltshire and Jeff Yarbro. Photos: courtesy of the candidates' campaigns

The Aug. 3 election features Nashville's first wide-open mayoral race without an incumbent since 2015.

  • Metro Council members, state lawmakers and current and former city officials are among those vying for the job.

Yes, but: With early voting in progress and the election only days away, local polling shows a broad swath of voters remain undecided.

State of play: While many of the top candidates have agreed on some of the key issues at play — among them, affordability and growth management — they differ in approach, style and background.

We reached out to seven top contenders and gave them an opportunity to make their pitch to voters. We asked why they are running, what they'd do on Day One and what makes them stand out in the crowded field.

  • Since they are running to lead Music City, we also asked about their favorite live music moments in Nashville.

Here are links to profiles based on each of those conversations.

  • Heidi Campbell, state senator representing south and west Davidson County
  • Sharon Hurt, at-large Metro Council member and former nonprofit executive
  • Freddie O'Connell, two-term Metro Council member representing Germantown, downtown and Music Row
  • Alice Rolli, businessperson and neighborhood activist who served in former Gov. Bill Haslam's administration and as former Sen. Lamar Alexander's campaign chief
  • Vivian Wilhoite, Davidson County property assessor and former Metro Council member
  • Matt Wiltshire, former Metro official working on economic development and affordable housing initiatives
  • Jeff Yarbro, state senator representing Sylvan Park to Antioch
  • Also running: Natisha Brooks, former Republican candidate for Congress; Fran Bush, a former school board member representing southeast Davidson County; and political unknowns Bernie Cox, Stephanie Johnson and Michael Rowan.

Don't forget: Early voting is available at 12 locations through Saturday, July 29. Details are available online.

  • You can vote at any location during early voting but must go to your assigned precinct to cast a ballot on Election Day, when polls are open 7am-7pm. (Find your polling place here.)

What's next: The top two candidates are expected to square off in a runoff election Sept. 14.

Voting by the numbers

As of July 24, there have been 26,775 votes cast during early voting. Based on turnout in recent elections, that means the vast majority of voters have not cast their ballots yet.

For the 2019 mayor's race, which pitted incumbent Mayor David Briley against three challengers, there were 102,002 votes cast.

  • The 2015 race, which also featured seven top contenders, saw 104,281 people cast their ballots.
  • In both of those races, early voting accounted for just under half of the total votes. But for this year's election, there are more early voting precincts open.

Go deeper: Reporting on the races

Here are some resources from other media outlets that might help you as you head to the polls.

📖 The Nashville Banner has a voter's guide, including an overview of key issues and interviews with top mayor, council and vice mayor candidates.

🗣️ The Nashville Scene's election coverage includes interviews with the at-large council candidates as well as candidates in other countywide races.

🔍 The Tennessean has an election hub that features links comparing the candidates' stances on different issues. (They count 106 local candidates running in this election.)

Editor's note: This story will be updated as the race progresses.


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