Après Arriola, le déluge.
After nearly a year of investigations and recriminations, Davidson County Clerk John Arriola resigned last week, avoiding indictment for his acceptance of tips in exchange for performing weddings.
Even the announcement was handled poorly. The Monday departure was another goof for the man once pegged as a rising star in Nashville politics: Why not do it on a Friday afternoon, when such bad news is usually unleashed (in the hopes of minimizing media attention)?
In any case, Davidson County is left without a county clerk — a job that pays its holder a cool $115,000.
Not surprisingly, the vacancy is expected to cause a scrum. It’s a well-paying job where keeping people happy is as easy as keeping the lines for tag renewal short and the process simple — easy asks in an age when the once-tedious task can be done online.
Within hours of Arriola’s resignation, Brenda Wynn — once Mayor Bill Purcell’s director of neighborhoods and now Rep. Jim Cooper’s community outreach director — issued a letter listing 300 women who endorse her for the temporary appointment to the post by the Metro Council.
It’s clear Wynn was waiting in the wings for the Arriola resignation, which had been seen as a likely but in no way guaranteed outcome.
By securing the interregnum appointment in August, Wynn — like the others who will no doubt make themselves available for this civic duty — hopes to lock up the all-important incumbency advantage when Davidson County voters go to the polls to pick Arriola’s permanent replacement in November.
And while earning the support of the council is no guarantee of wooing the voters, it certainly doesn’t hurt. Neither would the endorsement of the Davidson County Democratic Party, which will choose its nominee in a July meeting.
By jumping to the front of the line with her list, Wynn has taken the early lead in a race that will surely get more crowded.