NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Nashville Mayor David Briley declared victory after an election Thursday to serve out the term vacated by former Mayor Megan Barry, who pleaded guilty to a felony and resigned after an extramarital affair with her bodyguard.
Partial results showed Briley with nearly 55 percent of the vote in a 13-candidate field, likely avoiding a runoff in the special election. Briley became mayor in March after Barry’s resignation.
“I am truly convinced that if the people of this town come together and talk to each other, sit down and have coffee with each other a little bit more, we can do better,” Briley told supporters after declaring victory. “We can actually take this great city and make it even greater.”
Conservative commentator Carol Swain, the second-place finisher, congratulated Briley and pledged to work with him and hold him accountable in the future.
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It’s the second time Nashville voters have gone to the polls this month. On May 1, the growing southern city’s voters rejected a multibillion-dollar transit plan that Briley supported.
And there are more to come: Primaries with high-profile governor and U.S. Senate races are in August, ahead of November’s general election.
Then, the mayor’s race is back on the ballot in August 2019.
Support for Briley didn’t suffer from the overwhelming vote against the transit plan, which would have implemented tax increases for a $5.4 billion mass transit system including a new light rail system, expanded bus routes and the building of a downtown tunnel.
The plan, which was proposed by Barry, was killed by a mix of liberals and conservatives, combined with outside interests.
And though the city has been growing rapidly — close to 100 new residents a day — its budget is currently plagued by a $34 million revenue shortfall.
Originally, the Davidson County Election Commission set Thursday’s mayoral election on Aug. 2 to coincide with primaries. But a legal fight ensued, and the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that the election would have to be this month.
Briley, an attorney, had served as vice mayor since September 2015 before he suddenly got the top job. He previously was a Nashville councilman from 1999 to 2007, then lost a race for mayor in 2007.
Briley’s grandfather, Beverly Briley, was the first mayor of Nashville’s combined city-county government, serving from 1963 until 1975.
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