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Cooper rides broad geographical support to first place

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Posted at 12:17 PM, Aug 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-02 14:29:32-04

John Cooper's first place finish in the August 1 mayoral election took some observers by surprise. A look at the district map, however, shows a broad base of demographic and geographic support. Something his runoff opponent, David Briley, will have to turn around to keep his office at the Historic Metro Courthouse.

Cooper's support covered a lot of ground on the Metro Council District map: he won districts in nearly every suburb, ranging from affluent communities in Forest Hills to minority communities in Bordeaux and Antioch. While he did not manage to win the race outright, the Cooper campaign's messaging on communities outside the downtown area is clearly resonating. Expect that to remain a focus in the runoff election.

Mayor David Briley's support looks thinner on the map, though that is somewhat deceiving. He only shows up with a lead in district 19 in Downtown and North Nashville, but he was second or third in every other district, amassing enough votes to edge out Carol Swain and make the runoff.

Swain herself won more districts than Briley, taking parts of Southeast Nashville (districts 4 and 31) and Hermitage (district12). While she performed well in many minority communities she still trailed Cooper in key districts in Bordeaux, Antioch, and North Nashville.

Swain and Cooper had some very close races in some districts. Only four votes separated them in districts 31 (southeast Nashville) and 11 (Old Hickory).

John Ray Clemmons only managed 16% of the vote but did very well in the urban core. He took down four districts, three in East Nashville (districts 5, 6, and 7) and one in Hillsboro Village (district 18). Once you step out of the downtown cluster, however, his support evaporated, drawing little interest from suburban voters.

We showed the results to Newschannel5 political analyst Pat Nolan. Here's what he had to say: "This map shows the significant task Mayor Briley faces to win the September runoff. But to win both candidates (Briley and John Cooper) will need to attract Carol Swain and John Ray Clemmons voters. The breakdown shows where John Ray Clemmons did well in a district, usually Carol Swain didn't, and the same is true for Clemmons in districts where Swain did well. Whoever does the best job in attracting both will win.”

All results were based on Newschannel5's unofficial count.

A runoff between Briley and Cooper will be held September 12. Voters who haven't registered have until August 13 to do so.