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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Vote for mayor like it's 1999

Update: Liz Garrigan's column referenced below is now online.

I’m hoping Nashville Scene editor Liz Garrigan is right in the remarks she wrote for this week’s issue (not online yet). Attempting to forecast the upcoming mayoral race, Garrigan compares Bob Clement in 2007 to Dick Fulton in 1999. Fulton served as Nashville’s mayor from 1975 to 1987 and continues to be a respected figure in the community. Seeking to return to the office twelve years later, Fulton emerged as the frontrunner based on name recognition before placing a distant second to Bill Purcell on Election Day. As Garrigan notes, he humbly conceded the race even though he qualified for a runoff because Purcell was the clear, though not majority, choice of the electorate.

Clement, a career politician looking to make a comeback, may well be in Fulton’s shoes as the next election inches closer. I’ve made it clear in previous posts that I consider Clement – along with Buck Dozier and Howard Gentry – to be less-than-appealing options for the city’s next leader. Garrigan agrees:

Bob Clement is this year’s version of Dick Fulton – a man who has little vision for a city that has changed dramatically over the last decade or two, someone who’s already had a full political career (less distinguished than Fulton’s was, it would be fair to say) and the kind of not-so-fresh candidate we predict will hide behind meaningless press releases and innocuous appearances, instead handling questions in writing rather than handling tough questions live, the way he responded to inquiries from The Nashville Business Journal at the end of the year.
Garrigan is calling for Dozier to face David Briley or Karl Dean (who continues to decline to launch a Web site) in a runoff where “the voters couldn’t have a starker contrast in candidates.” I’m hoping she’s right, and I hope Briley or Dean emerge as Nashville’s next mayor. In the meantime, I hope the two of them will sit down for coffee and figure out which one of them has the better shot at winning and which one ought to run for vice-mayor instead. [Aside to both: I will likely vote for either of you compared to the field, so please stop dividing the progressive vote.]


Anonymous said...

Bob Clement will be out of this race by late spring. His involvement with the Trip Assured fiasco will sink his campaign and will doom his wife, Mary's position in the TDCI.

Rob Robinson said...

I'd hate to see someone lose their job, but I do hope you're right that Clement won't stay in the race. I personally don't think he is the best choice to lead the city on the heels of Purcell and Bredesen.