Jun 29, 2023 - Politics

O'Connell enters mayoral TV ad race

Screenshot: courtesy of the O'Connell campaign

Metro Councilmember Freddie O'Connell is releasing his first mayoral campaign ad Thursday, using his vote against the Titans stadium financing plan as the backdrop.

  • State Sen. Jeff Yarbro unveiled his debut ad Wednesday evening. Yarbro's campaign spokesperson says it will air on television after the July 4 weekend.

Why it matters: Good old-fashioned TV is still vital for local candidates to increase their name recognition. O'Connell and Yarbro are among the top contenders for mayor, but they're playing catch-up with fellow candidates, who have aired television ads for several weeks.

Details: O'Connell's 30-second ad depicts a pick-up football game, which he narrates as "billionaires and bachelorettes" versus "us."

  • "I'm Freddie O'Connell, the only candidate for mayor to vote against the stadium deal," he says. "Tourists and outsiders are getting all the wins. Let's build a Nashville for Nashvillians again."
  • In the ad, O'Connell touts "expanded child care, housing we can afford and transit that works" as top priorities.

What he's saying: "A lot of this entire past couple of years has had as its baseline the conversation about the stadium deal," O'Connell tells Axios.

  • He and businessperson Jim Gingrich are the only candidates to campaign on opposing the $2.1 billion project.

Meanwhile: Yarbro's first ad focuses on the issue of gun violence and shows him walking his daughter to school. "In the Senate, I fought my heart out for tougher gun safety laws," he says, promising to put every city agency to work on reducing gun violence and installing mental health counselors in every school.

Between the lines: Only three candidates have aired television ads so far in the race. Buoyed by personal loans to their own campaigns, Gingrich and former Metro official Matt Wiltshire have flexed their fundraising advantages to dominate local airwaves.

  • Businessperson and Republican political strategist Alice Rolli was third on the airwaves.

Be smart: Gingrich's most recent ad features his father and underscores a prominent trait of his campaign: opposition to Metro financing deals for sports facilities.

  • Wiltshire's newest spot highlights his support for public education. He's a product of Metro Nashville Public Schools.
  • Rolli, who's working to appeal to conservative voters, says in her debut ad Nashville can avoid the mistakes of other cities: "higher taxes, higher crime" and "failing schools."

What we're watching: The financial disclosure filing deadline for this period is July 10. Candidates' disclosures will paint a picture of how well-funded the top campaigns are entering the home stretch of the general election.

  • State Sen. Heidi Campbell stressed the importance of TV ads in a campaign text message Wednesday, saying she was close to her fundraising goal to cover her ad budget.

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