Nashville mayoral election headed to a runoff

Freddie O’Connell and Alice Rolli advanced from a field of 12 candidates in the nonpartisan general election for mayor of Nashville, Tennessee, on Aug. 3, 2023. The two will compete in a Sept. 14, 2023, runoff election. Although the election is officially nonpartisan, both candidates have political affiliations. O’Connell, who has represented District 19 on the Nashville Metro Council since 2015, is a Democrat. Rolli, a former political strategist and owner of Worldstrides, is a Republican.

O’Connell received 27.1 percent of the vote and Rolli received 20.2 percent. Matthew Wiltshire, an economic development and housing executive who previously worked at Nashville’s Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency, finished third with 17.0 percent.

Incumbent Mayor John Cooper (D) did not seek re-election, making him the first full-term Nashville mayor to not seek re-election since 1991.

Nashville is electing its fourth mayor in five years. Former Mayor Megan Berry resigned in 2018. Then-Vice Mayor David Briley assumed office and held it in an August 2018 special election before losing to Cooper in the 2019 election.

Nashville has a strong mayor government, where the mayor serves as chief executive and the city council operates as a legislative branch. The responsibilities of the mayor include proposing a budget, signing legislation into law, appointing departmental directors, and overseeing the city’s day-to-day operations.

As of June 2023, Democrats held 62 of the mayoral offices in the 100 largest cities in the United States, Republicans held 26, independents held three, and nonpartisan mayors held seven. Two mayors’ partisan affiliations were unknown.