Mens hairstyles with moustache. The Election Issue: What You Need to Know About All 35 District Races

With 35 council districts, it can be hard to keep up with all the moving parts. If there’s one positive to Metro’s comically outsized legislative body, it’s that all politics are hyperlocal, and issues that dominate one district may be unheard of in 34 others. Here’s our guide to what’s important in all 35 districts, plus one impress-your-friends fact about each. Proper mustache.

District 1 — Jonathan B. Hall (incumbent), Finis Luther Dailey III, Rudolph “R.J.” Mamula

District 1 is Metro’s largest council district by area — stretching from the borders with Cheatham and Robertson counties in the north, through Joelton, down to parts of Bordeaux and all the way to the river at Bells Bend — and the most politically engaged (at least measured in turnout). That means the District 1 councilmember (who for a time changed more frequently than the seasons) faces one of the toughest balancing acts in town. If there’s one overarching issue, it’s preservation of the rural and bucolic nature of the district, which contains large swaths of the last vestiges of open land in the county.

Fact: White’s Creek is named for Zachariah White, whose wife Lucinda is remembered as “Granny White.”

District 2 — DeCosta Hastings (i), Yolanda Hockett, Andre A. Southall, Kyonztè Toombs

If there’s a single-issue election on this year’s ballot, it’s in North Nashville’s District 2, and grease, as they say, is the word. A plan for a grease-processing plant created a firestorm that brought some unexpected opposition to incumbent DeCosta Hastings after the issue was raised in council by former District 2 resident and current At-Large Councilmember Sharon Hurt. Hastings maintains that the plant was inevitable and will ultimately be good for the district; his opponents say he mishandled the issue.

Fact: District 2 is the only one of the 35 that has land on both sides of the Cumberland River and is the district with the highest percentage of agricultural workers.

District 3 — Barry Barlow, Jennifer Gamble, Elise Hudson

The Third is another sprawling and difficult-to-define district that stretches from the largely African American neighborhoods around Brick Church Pike up to more rural and white areas north of Old Hickory Boulevard. It has a city-side/suburban/rural balancing act similar to that of District 1.

Fact: Forty-one percent of the land in District 3 is on a “steep slope,” according to the Metro Planning Department.

District 4 — Robert Swope (i), Mike Cortese

One of the districts farthest-flung from downtown, District 4 was slower to face rampant development than many others around the city, despite being tucked into the southern edge of Antioch. Development is coming, but both candidates express a willingness to keep the brakes on it for their district.

Fact: District 4 is the most notorious outlier from the council district numbering system, which generally runs clockwise from the northwest; its neighboring districts are 26, 27, 31 and 34.

District 5 — Charles Flowers Jr., Pam Murray, Sean Parker

District 5 has seen eight years of Scott Davis, who was accused by many in the district of being overly cozy with developers while being largely incommunicado with his constituents. Candidates Flowers and Parker, particularly, are aiming for a different path. Parker, notably, has refused campaign contributions from developers in a district that’s turned extremely development-heavy.

Fact: Dickerson Pike is actually a centuries-old misspelling. It’s named for the Dickinson Meeting House, a Primitive Baptist Church that was along the route from Nashville proper to Mansker’s Station near Goodlettsville.

District 6 — Brett Withers (i)

After defeating incumbent Peter Westerholm in 2015, Withers — owner of the council’s most distinctive mustache — faces no opposition in his re-election bid in District 6, a highly engaged and politically progressive East Nashville district around Shelby Park.

Fact: Shelby Bottoms or Silicon Bottoms? District 6 has the highest percentage of IT workers of any council district.

District 7 — Emily Benedict, Clint Camp, Stephenie A. Downs, Daniel Fitzpatrick, Jacob Green, Stephanie Johnson, Randy Reed, Cole D. Rogers

The campaign to replace the popular but term-limited Anthony Davis drew eight candidates, by far the largest field of any of the district-level races. Residents of this neighborhood-heavy district stretching from South Inglewood into Madison are among the most vociferous activists for short-term rental property regulation.

Fact: Looking for your waiter? There’s a good chance they live in District 7, home to more food-service workers than any other district.

District 8 — Nancy VanReece (i), Danny Williams

Covering a large swath of Madison, much of District 8 finally joined Metro’s Urban Services District during the tenure of incumbent VanReece, leading to increased traffic signaling and recycling. As home prices continue to rise closer to downtown, more people are looking for residential opportunities in the old streetcar suburbs like Madison. Of the 2,000-plus new homes added in the district since 2015, more than a third are classified as affordable.

Fact: No one is sure of the origin of the neighborhood name “Amqui.” One theory is that it’s a mispronunciation of a Native American name for the area. (The town of “Amqui” in Canada, for example, is a corruption of the Mi'kmaq word for “a place to have fun”; no Mi’kmaqs lived in Tennessee.) Another is that it was a “damn quick” train ride from Nashville, eventually shortened to “Amqui.”

District 9 — Thomas E. George, Tonya Hancock, David McMurry

This district stretches from Madison proper through the largely unspoiled farmland and large lots of Neely’s Bend, and preservation is a critical issue for its residents, who enjoy the midcentury charm of Madison. Those loving the bucolic isolation of the Bend want to maintain those attributes in the face of development pressure. There’s no incumbent here, as current Councilmember Bill Pridemore is term-limited.

Fact:Neely’s Bend is named for William Neely, the first white man killed in what is now Davidson County. Neely was slain by Native Americans at the Larkin Spring, on what is now TriStar Skyline Medical Center’s Madison campus. His descendents still live on the Bend.

District 10 — Tim Garrett, Zach Young

In an interesting battle of old and new, Garrett, who represented the district from 1983 to 1999 and then did a stint as an at-large rep from 2007 to 2015, squares off against political up-and-comer Zach Young, a Goodlettsville city commissioner. Though an independent city, Goodlettsville does receive many services from Metro, and many residents believe they’ve gotten short shrift.

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Fact:In addition to Goodlettsville, District 10 includes the two tiny portions of Ridgetop that jut across the line from Robertson County.

District 11 — Larry Hagar (i)

Incumbent Hagar is unopposed in his Old Hickory/Rayon City/Lakewood-area district.

Fact: The voting precinct at Temple Baptist Church is the successor to the infamous “Hopewell Box,” which lent its name to James Squires’ book about midcentury political corruption in Nashville. District 11 is also home to Nashville’s only Romanian Orthodox Church.

District 12: Erin Evans, Geric Smith

The term-limited Steve Glover currently represents this Hermitage district, which maintains plenty of rural character (candidate Smith’s family, for example, operates a farm that’s been in the family for six generations) to go along with the development around I-40, which bifurcates the district.

Fact: District 12 is the district with the most European-born immigrants in Metro.

District 13 — Russ Bradford, Andrew Dixon, Dan Meredith

In this airport-area district, people are understandably worried about traffic. Bradford, part of the largest slate of LGBTQ candidates in the city’s history, squares off against Meredith, a man who in past social media posts has said he didn’t understand why it wasn’t OK to compare black women to apes, opined that businesses might be better off without female employees, and used various slurs referring to gay men. Dixon, though he maintains a relatively polished campaign website, has refused most media requests.

Fact:The Metro Nashville Airport Authority is the largest landowner in the county.

District 14 — Kevin Rhoten (i)

Incumbent Rhoten is unopposed in the district that straddles the Stones River, traditionally the boundary between Hermitage and Donelson.

Fact: Is District 14 Nashville’s microcosm? In terms of median income and educational attainment, District 14 is almost a perfect match with Davidson County as a whole.

District 15 — Jeff Syracuse (i)

Syracuse is unopposed in this Donelson district.

Fact: District 15 contains five Waffle Houses.

District 16 — Paul King, Tony Tenpenny, Ginny Welsch

Sidewalks and traffic congestion are hot topics in the 16th, which bridges the south side of downtown to the more suburban neighborhoods in the southeastern edge of the county. That’s to be expected in an area served by the corridors of Thompson Lane and Nolensville Road.

Fact:Radnor Yard is one of the largest freight rail yards in the country, and the largest that still uses so-called hump sorting.

District 17 — Colby Sledge (i)

Incumbent Sledge is unopposed in this district, where the future of the fairgrounds, as ever, is a hot topic.

Fact: The current community center was once a notorious bar called The Pink Poodle II; the South Nashville Action People neighborhood association purchased it with help from a million-dollar grant from the federal government.

District 18 — Tom Cash, John Green

The Vanderbilt-area district is one of the city’s most reliably progressive. And unsurprisingly for a district that’s home to colleges and universities, both candidates vying to replace the term-limited Burkley Allen (who’s currently running for an at-large seat) are advocating for well-funded public education.

Fact: The 18th has Nashville’s highest population density at 7,000 people per square mile, nearly 1,600 more than the next most dense, and more than five times higher than the county as a whole.

District 19 — Freddie O’Connell (i)

Incumbent O’Connell is unopposed after his presumptive opponent Joshua Parrant was determined to be ineligible as a candidate for not meeting residency requirements.

Fact: District 19 has the highest level of income inequality in the city based on the Gini index, a favored tool of economists.

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District 20 — Mary Carolyn Roberts (i), Tori Goddard

This is an extraordinarily diverse district — the students at Charlotte Park Elementary represent nearly two dozen countries, for example — that has experienced remarkable change since Nashville’s 2010 flood. In recent years, the young and affluent moved into The Nations, presenting an interesting tension with the long-established families (including Nashville’s largest Vietnamese enclave) in Charlotte Park. On one side of White Bridge, constituents want improved amenities and denser development; on the other, folks want to make sure breakneck growth doesn’t run them over.

Fact: In another expression of the district’s general diversity, the 20th was one of just two council districts won by both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primaries.

District 21 — Ed Kindall (i), Denise D. Bentley, Ted Chapin, Melissa “Clark” Covington, Brandon Taylor

Affordable housing and ensuring longtime residents aren’t pushed out are big talking points in the 21st, a district roughly surrounding Fisk University and Meharry Medical College northwest of downtown. Kindall, a longtime elected official, drew an unusually high number of challengers — sparked, perhaps, by reports he’d left 97 percent of the emails in his Metro inbox unread.

Fact:Ted Rhodes Park is the home of Nashville’s only cricket oval.

District 22 — Art Allen, Gloria Hausser, Todd Sneed

Maintaining greenspace and improving transit options are big talking points in the race to replace Sheri Weiner in this Bellevue district.

Fact: Sawyer Brown Road isn’t named for the country band, nor is it named for a person called Sawyer Brown. It once connected the farms of the Sawyer and Brown families.

District 23 — Mina Johnson (i), Thom Druffel, Rob McKinney

Johnson initially said she wouldn’t seek re-election, but she’s back in the fray in this Hillwood/West Meade/Belle Meade district, where the future — and potential sale — of the soon-to-be-former Hillwood High School property gets folks’ backs up. (It’s worth noting that more than half of the district’s children of high school age are enrolled in private schools.)

Fact: Davidson Road is one of the oldest roads in the county, dating back to the Cumberland Settlement days. A station run by a man named Joslin (see Jocelyn Hollow Road) aided travelers moving from the Natchez Trace to what is now Charlotte Pike. Today there’s a gas station where it once stood.

District 24 — Kathleen Murphy (i)

Incumbent Murphy faces no opposition in her re-election to represent this Sylvan Park/Sylvan Heights district.

Fact: Park Avenue is wider — in some places significantly so — than other roads in the area because it had to accommodate streetcar lines in the days of yore.

District 25 — Russ Pulley (i)

Isn’t the big issue in Green Hills always traffic? Incumbent Pulley, being unopposed, has four more years to figure out what no one’s figured out in two centuries: how to get down Hillsboro Road quickly.

Fact: Let’s start calling Green Hills “The Neighborhood Down Under” — District 25 has Metro’s highest percentage of Australian-born residents.

District 26 — Jeremy Elrod (i), Chip Cruze, Courtney Johnson

It’s one of Metro’s most heavily residential districts, and residents want to preserve that character. The state’s plan to locate a regional intervention program facility for the Department of Mental Health at the Ellington Agricultural Center drew criticism last year.

Fact: Crieve Hall, the neighborhood, is named for Crieve Hall, the former mansion, which in turn is named for Crieve, a village in County Donegal in Northern Ireland, the ancestral home of the mansion’s builder, Herbert Farrell.

District 27 — Robert Nash

Robert “Commander” Nash, a singer-songwriter and former East Precinct Metro police commander (seriously), is unopposed in this district that includes the Whispering Hills and McMurray-Huntington neighborhoods, but which you probably call “Brentioch.”

Fact:District 27 has the largest ethnically Asian population in Davidson County.

District 28 — Tanaka Vercher (i), Riki Dwivedi

One of the fastest-growing districts (not unusual in Antioch), District 28 has seen relatively little retail growth during its explosion. Longtime residents have also asked for more robust codes enforcement.

Fact: More single dads live in District 28 than anywhere else in the county.

District 29 — Delishia Porterfield (i), Constance Smith-Burwell

The Priest Lake district, like many other rapidly growing districts in the southeastern part of the county, has big concerns about traffic, but another seemingly constant threat in District 29 is flooding.

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Fact: Everybody’s going to work in District 29, which has the highest percentage of two-earner families in the county.

District 30 — Reuben Ford, Lydia Hubbell, Sherry Jones, Sandra Sepulveda

Sepulveda would be the first Hispanic woman elected to the council if she wins this four-way dance, and she’d represent the district with far and away the largest Hispanic population in town. In this district, which stretches between Nolensville Pike and Interstate 24 along Haywood Lane, big concerns are traffic (naturally), speeding in the neighborhoods and gun violence.

Fact: Nearly 15 percent of District 30 residents work in construction-related fields.

District 31 — John Rutherford

John Rutherford is unopposed in this southern district

, which borders Rutherford County, appropriately enough.

Fact: Not all districts are created equal, even though they are supposed to be. District 31 is the largest in terms of population, with nearly 9,000 more people than District 9, the smallest.

District 32 — Cheryl D. Mayes, Joy Styles

This Antioch-area district has three of the city’s most dangerous intersections and a higher-than-normal number of children who walk to school — a worrying combination.

Fact:Blue lights on Blue Hole? More law enforcement officers live in District 32 than any other district.

District 33 — Antoinette Lee, Martez Coleman

What’s old is new again, as the good folks of District 33 have trained everyone to call their neighborhood by its old name, Cane Ridge, and continue to fight to preserve the green space prevalent in the area.

Fact: Davidson County’s only exclave — roughly 13 acres completely surrounded by Wilson County — is part of District 33, as is the eastern shore of Percy Priest Lake near Long Hunter State Park, connected to the rest of Metro only by a bridge that carries Hobson Pike over the lake.

District 34 — Angie Henderson (i), Terry Jo Bichell

In Oak Hill and Forest Hills, people want sidewalks and a decrease in traffic congestion. With a (vast) majority of children in the tony district attending private schools, public education concerns focus more on wise spending than on results.

Fact:It’s probably no surprise that this is Nashville’s wealthiest district. What might shock is just how wealthy. The median household income in District 34 — roughly $126,000 — is $30,000 more than the next-highest district.

District 35 — Dave Rosenberg (i), Michelle Foreman

In a district made up of the more rural parts of Bellevue — along with Pasquo, the Natchez Trace area and a stretch up into far West Nashville along River Road — residents are excited about a high school coming back to the area. But they want to limit dense development in what is still a largely wide-open area.

Fact: Bellevue’s for the children? District 35 contains the most households with children in the county.
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