The number of people throwing their hats in the ring for Nashville mayor has skyrocketed since current Mayor John Cooper announced he’s not running for re-election.
Mayor Cooper was elected in 2019. By the time he announced on Jan. 31 that he would not seek a second term, three candidates had already unveiled their campaigns. Since then, the list only continues to grow.
Candidates won’t face off in a debate until May 18 — which is also the qualifying deadline to declare a campaign. The election is set to take place on Aug. 3.
Who has announced their campaigns?
At-large Councilmember Sharon Hurt has served on the Metro Council since 2015. She worked with nonprofit Jefferson Street United Merchants Partnerships for 23 years, stepping down from her role as president and CEO in 2021.
In a statement on her campaign website, Hurt says she will work to “restore hope and prosperity on every forgotten block of our city.”
Metro Councilmember and software architect Freddie O’Connell was the first candidate to announce an intention to run.
O’Connell has represented District 19 — made up of downtown, Germantown and Music Row, the council’s most populous district — since 2015. Before that, O’Connell chaired Metro Transit Authority’s board for three years, led the Salemtown Neighbors Neighborhood Association for five years, and served on various other boards and committees.
O’Connell says his focus is on “improving residents’ day-to-day lives” by focusing on city infrastructure and implementing an efficient transit system “that people can use to bring down their cost of living.”
The economic development and former affordable housing veteran launched his campaign in July 2022. He previously worked for the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency, where he worked to implement a 10-year, $750 million affordable housing plan.
Wiltshire’s campaign prioritizes public infrastructure and finding funding for affordable housing and education.
In the first reports for campaign funding, Wiltshire demonstrated an early lead with over $1 million in funds.
The former Chief Operating Officer of Wall Street firm AllianceBernstein retired from his post in 2020. Gingrich, who is not originally from Tennessee, was part of the team who worked to move the asset management company’s headquarters to Nashville in 2018. His campaign cites the $165 million investment and subsequent jobs created.
The business executive’s campaign notes that he is “not a career politician.” He says he hopes to address issues like “chaotic and unrestrained growth,” a lack of affordable housing, crime and gridlocked traffic.
Brooks, who entered the race in February, is a self-described “Christian conservative constitutionalist.”
She formerly operated a home school academy, as well as ran for congressional seats in Republican primaries in 2020 and 2022.
Brooks’ campaign identified some of her top priorities as parental choice in education, improving assistance for adoptive and foster families, increasing police and addressing gentrification.
In a video posted to her Facebook page in mid-February, the former Metro Nashville Public Schools school board member announced her campaign for mayor. In the video, she said her work involved supporting students academically and fighting for pay raises.
Bush served four years on MNPS’s school board, before losing her District 6 seat last August. Her loss came after she publicly opposed school closures during COVID-19.
She described her campaign priorities as “neighborhoods, affordable housing, homelessness, crime prevention and safety, education and infrastructure.”
Democratic state senator has served in the Senate, representing Nashville, since 2014. He spent four years as the Senate minority leader and was reelected to his District 21 seat last year for another four-year term. Yarbro also works as an attorney at Bass, Berry & Sims law firm.
Yarbro cites his work building “broad coalitions” to pass more than 75 pieces of legislation to “improve people’s lives.” His campaign says he seeks to continue this work, focusing on affordable housing, childcare, resources for homeless youth and prohibiting wage discrimination against those with disabilities.
The Republican strategist is the latest addition to the field, announcing that she filed campaign paperwork on Feb. 23.
Rolli served as campaign manager for Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander during his 2014 reelection bid. She also worked in the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development during Gov. Bill Haslam’s term.