What to watch for in Nashville mayoral debate

Posted at 6:22 AM, Jun 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-25 08:56:16-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The top four candidates to be Nashville's next mayor will face off in their first televised debate. Mayor David Briley, Councilman John Cooper, State Rep. John Ray Clemmons and Dr. Carol Swain will take the stage at 6 p.m. Here are some of the issues to watch:

Property tax increase?

Every candidate has made pains to distance themselves from the possibility of a property tax increase while appearing to support teachers and other city workers who are growing more and more impatient with their stagnant wages. How long can each candidate satisfy property owners and employees? We'll see which of the four can be most credible walking that tightrope.

Cost of living in the It City

For years the phrase "affordable housing" conjured up images of poverty-stricken neighborhoods. But a recent report suggests its effects are felt by the middle class, too. That report found that a Nashville resident needs to make $80k to live comfortably, well above the median income of the city. Can any candidate tackle this problem? Each will be given a chance to convince voters they can.

Style or substance?

Though each candidate has an impressive resume they have less experience debating in front of television cameras. Though the best debater doesn't necessarily make the best mayor, a good performance in front of a large audience could be enough in a close race.

Insider or Outsider?

Many Nashvillians have expressed frustration with the city's direction. Will those voters look to an outsider like Swain? Will voters who feel that the city is on the wrong track hold it against Mayor Briley or Councilman Cooper? And how will they view Rep. Clemmons, who's not quite an outsider when it comes to politics but not quite an insider when it comes to city government.

Nonpartisan but not really

The mayor's race is officially non-partisan, but the political stripe of each candidate is pretty clear: Swain has been a conservative commentator, Briley and Cooper come from powerful Democratic families, and Clemmons, as a state representative, is a declared Democrat. How will that impact the mostly blue Nashville voter?

The debate will be held Tuesday, June 25 at Belmont University. It will air on NewsChannel5, NewsChannel5+, and at 6 p.m. To read more about the candidates taking part, click on the links below:

Mayor David Briley
John Ray Clemmons
Councilman John Cooper
Dr. Carol Swain