Five at-large council reps avoid runoff, secure second terms

Friday, August 5, 2011 at 12:50am

All five Metro Council sitting at-large members rolled to victory Thursday night without needing a runoff, continuing the city’s historic trend of incumbents in those seats winning their re-election bids.

The outcome keeps intact a crop of countywide-elected council members — Megan Barry, Tim Garrett, Jerry Maynard, Ronnie Steine and Charlie Tygard — who range from liberal to conservative, but generally support most of Mayor Karl Dean’s legislative agenda.

“I think it reflects that the five of us collectively represent much of the width and breadth of the community, frankly,” Steine said. “We’re different on the spectrum from liberal to conservative, different from one end of the county to the other, and different in diversity in terms of sex, race and religion. The county respected that.”

At-large incumbents have never lost re-elections in the history of Metro, and name recognition and fundraising prowess is a major reason why.

To win outright on Election Day, at-large candidates needed 10 percent of the aggregate votes cast in that particular race. All five did so, ranging from as high as 12 percent to as low as 10.3 percent.

The biggest winner among the group was Councilwoman Megan Barry, who chairs the council’s Budget and Finance Committee. Barry, a favorite among the city’s progressives, finished the night with 30,205 votes, 12 percent. Next up was Steine with 29,261 votes, 11.6 percent.

“I’m very excited that all of the at-large members were able to clear it without a runoff because I think all of have served the community well,” Barry said. “We don’t always agree on every issue, but we represent the entirety of Davidson County.”

Heading into election night, some prognosticators felt Maynard, the lone African-American at-large member, was the most vulnerable of the bunch. Just like four years ago, Maynard finished with the fewest votes of the five, 25,847 or 10.3 percent, but he pulled out a victory nonetheless.

“The question for us was whether we were going to be in a runoff,” Maynard said. “Even though people kept saying we were the most vulnerable, we knew that wasn’t the case. We knew that we had a strong record to stand on.”

Finishing sixth — unable to break into the group of five — was term-limited district Councilman Eric Crafton, who has represented the Bellevue area for 12 years. Crafton had 20,524 votes, 8.1 percent of the vote.

“I did extremely well considering the fact that I only spent $4,000, and was outspent probably 15 or 20 to one, literally by the five incumbents,” Crafton said. “It is what it is. Obviously, the mayor was not going to campaign for me or raise $40,000 or $50,000 for me.”

Crafton’s loss likely caps a memorable local political career, marked by his failed English-only referendum of 2009.  

“I’m done with that,” Crafton said of politics. “When God closes one door, he opens another door. I’m excited to see what he has planned for me to do.”

Garrett, a former Democratic state representative and Goodlettsville councilman, finished third with 28,013 votes, 11.1 percent. Tygard, a former district councilman in Bellevue, finished fourth with 26,977 votes, 10.7 percent.

Rounding out the at-large losers in order was District Councilwoman Vivian Wilhoite, with 17,560 votes; District Councilman Sam Coleman, with 15,435 votes, businessman Ken Jakes, with 12,392 votes, and attorney Renard Francois with 10,515 votes.

The only outsider who proved capable of competing financially with the five incumbents was Francois, leading some to believe he stood a chance of breaking into the field. In the end, he came in 10th place.

“Tough night for the Francois camp,” Francois wrote on his twitter feed. “Congrats to all winners and thank you to all supporters and volunteers.” 

14 Comments on this post:

By: Mag77 on 8/5/11 at 4:29

No more Crafton? Honest?

Wheeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!

By: Funditto on 8/5/11 at 5:44

Now that's something to celebrate! What do you bet he tries for one of the soon to be available clerk positions? Don't do it people!

By: fdanshep on 8/5/11 at 5:48

Mr. Crafton proved that a boy can grow in this country to be anything he wants to be. In this case he apparently wanted to be a political failure....

By: Wild Bill on 8/5/11 at 5:52

Get ready to hold on to your wallets. Mayor Dean seems to be a good manager but he is a progressive at heart and that only means one thing..... grow government and to do that he needs more of our money.

By: titansjoe on 8/5/11 at 6:17

I must be a brick shy of a load. I watched our city leaders put us in a terrible financial situation. They have voted against the will of the majority of citizens to take a dangerous gamble on our future. If the convention center does well it will be great but if it fails we are in very very serious trouble. ............Now we have voted them back into office..............but then maybe its not just me thats not too smart............they almost voted Pam Murray back into office and did re-elect a known theif as well as a known 2 time DUI offender whom just happened to have contributed to the delinquency of minors while having illegal drugs in his vehicle.

I guess the voters just prefer lower standards for our elected official. Well we have 4 more years of it.

I would still take Crafton over any of the winners any day. But just to be sure I think I will double check with a therapist. My mother always used to tell me if you think the whole world has gone crazy, you might want to look in the mirror so I better check me out first. I'm gonna check it out but I still think they ar putting something in the water. lol

By: gdiafante on 8/5/11 at 6:29

“I’m done with that,” Crafton said of politics. “When God closes one door, he opens another door. I’m excited to see what he has planned for me to do.”

Yes, and don't let that door hit you in the a$$ on the way out.

By: macjedi on 8/5/11 at 6:52

GOODBYE ERIC CRAFTON! YOU HATEFUL HYPOCRITE.

Don't be TOO sure, folks... those shady rules they all passes in 2008 allow him to return. If he can once again muster enough hateful stupid people, with more money.

By: bfra on 8/5/11 at 7:20

Titansjoe - You pretty well summed up this election!

By: Nitzche on 8/5/11 at 7:54

HERE COME THE TAX INCREASES...term limited out, now it will be Obama, local style!

By: san r on 8/5/11 at 9:19

you get what you voted for.

By: Radix on 8/5/11 at 9:23

Nitzche, they'll blame it on Bush or something.

By: Nitzche on 8/5/11 at 10:09

it is all about the kids!

By: PKVol on 8/5/11 at 2:01

Steine is quoted: “I think it reflects that the five of us collectively represent much of the width and breadth of the community, frankly,” Steine said. “We’re different on the spectrum from liberal to conservative, different from one end of the county to the other, and different in diversity in terms of sex, race and religion. The county respected that.”

Right about spectrum Liberal to Conservative, but 3-1-1 Liberal / Conservative / Moderate is hardly a balance.

Can't agree with the 'one end of the county to the other' statement - no representation east of I-65 - no Hermitage, Donelson, Antioch.

'different in diversity in terms of sex, race and religion' - 4 male, 1 female, hardly a balance, religion - other than Stein being Jewish, I'm not sure of the others' religion and Maynard is Black, the other 4 are white - once again, 4-1 is hardly balanced.

By: yucchhii on 8/6/11 at 9:52

yucchhii "ALL" politicians should have the word "CRIMINAL" in front of the words "AT LARGE"!!! All the way from National to LOCAL!!! What they are "KNOWINGLY" doing to this country "IS" CRIMINAL!!!