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Six cities hold fall elections; Mayors decided in Knoxville, Memphis, and Nashville

Freddie O'Connell
Nashville Mayor Freddie O'Connell delivers an acceptance speech after being elected. O'Connell previously served as a Nashville councilman since 2015 and works in Nashville’s software and start-up industry.


Elections have been held in five municipalities so far this fall, including mayoral and council elections in Knoxville and Memphis and run-off elections for mayor and council in Nashville.  

New mayors will be taking office in Memphis and Nashville with the city of Nashville also electing its first female-majority city council.  


Dickson held a municipal election on Sept. 16. Incumbent Don L. Weiss ran unopposed and was re-elected to the seat. Weiss has served as mayor of Dickson since 1993 and will be the city’s longest-serving mayor when he reaches 30 years of service in December.  

Newcomer Brett M. Reynolds unseated incumbent Betty Lou Alsobrooks for the Ward 1 council seat. Reynolds earned 252 votes to Alsobrooks’ 220.  

In the Ward 3 race incumbent Horace Perkins defeated challenger Clayton L. Ellis with Perkins earning 131 votes to Ellis’ 52 votes. 

Two uncontested races were also held in Dickson. Newcomer Shane Chandler ran unopposed and was elected to the Ward 2 seat previously held by Robby Harmon while incumbent Dwight E. Haynes ran unopposed and was re-elected to the Ward 4 seat.  

Indya Kincannon
Incumbent Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon speaks with supporters following winning the mayoral race on Aug. 29.

A primary election was held in Knoxville on Aug. 29 with no run-offs needed following the vote counts.  

Incumbent Indya Kincannon defeated challengers Constance Every, R.C. Lawhorn, and Jeff Talman to retain her seat as mayor of Knoxville. Kincannon received 9,429 votes, approximately 57% of the vote in a race where 51% is needed to secure the election. Talman followed with 4,808 votes, Every with 1,328 votes, and Lawhorn with 829 votes. 

Incumbent Lynn Fugate defeated Cameron Brooks and Darin Worsham for the open Knoxville City Council At-Large Seat A. Fugate led the vote total with 7,188 followed by Brooks with 6,746, and Worsham with 1,685.  

For the At-Large Seat B, newcomer Debbie Helsley defeated fellow challenger R. Bentley Marlow. Hensley received 10,536 votes while Marlow received 4,594. The seat was previously held by Janet Testerman.  

In the At-Large Seat C race, Incumbent Amelia Parker and Tim Hill defeated Matthew Best for the two open seats. Parker earned 6,598 votes, Hill 5,927, and Best 3,543. Incumbent Charles Thomas ran unopposed and was elected to the District 5 seat with 1,287 votes. 

Incumbent John Rosson defeated challengers Tyler Caviness, Mary Ward, and Andrew Beamer for the two open municipal judge seats in Knoxville. Rosson led the vote tally with 5,963 followed by Caviness with 5,735, Ward with 2,215, and Beamer with 1,924.  


The city of Lexington held a municipal election on Sept. 16.  

Challenger Roger Loftin defeated incumbent Jack Johnson for the Alderman Position 1 seat with Loftin earning 546 votes to Johnson’s 280.  

Incumbent Tim Rhodes defeated challenger Steve Hensley for the Alderman Position 2 seat with Rhodes earning 505 votes to Hensley’s 305.  

In the Alderman Position 7 race, incumbent Gabe Williams fended off challenger Blake Stanfill with Williams earning 439 votes to 369 votes.  

Incumbent Sandra Wood ran unopposed and was re-elected with 653 complimentary votes.  


The city of Memphis held a municipal election on Oct. 5 that included a crowded field of candidates for the mayoral seat previously held by term-limited Jim Strickland as well as races for 13 city council positions. 

Paul Young
Paul A. Young addresses supporters after winning the Memphis mayoral race. Young is the president and CEO of the downtown Memphis Commission and has previous service with both the city of Memphis and Shelby County. His platform was largely based around downtown revitalization. 

Paul A. Young has been selected mayor of Memphis after defeating 16 other candidates, including former gubernatorial candidate Carnita Atwater, Jennings Bernard, Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner, Judge Joe Brown, Kendra C. Calico, State Rep. and Democratic Leader Karen Camper, J.W. Gibson, Reggie Hall, former Shelby County Commissioner James Harvey, former Memphis Mayor W.W. Herenton, Memphis-Shelby County School Board Member Michelle McKissack, Brandon A. Price, Justina Ragland, Tekeva Shaw, Shelby County Commissioner Van Turner, and Derek Winn. 

Young led the vote total with 24,408 followed by Bonner with 19,895, Herenton with 18,990, Turner with 18,778, Gibson with 2,175, McKissack with 1,437, Brown with 1,028, Camper with 591, Harvey with 325, Price with 129, and Atwater with 122. Bernard, Calico, Hall, Ragland, Shaw, and Winn all received less than 100 votes.  

Young is the president and CEO of the downtown Memphis Commission since 2021. Prior to that, he served as director of the city of Memphis’ Division of Housing and Community Development from 2016 to 2021 and in various planning and legislative analysis roles with Shelby County, the city of Memphis, and private companies.  

In the District 1 race, incumbent Rhonda Logan defeated challenger Kymberly Kelley with 6,222 votes to 1,961 votes. In District 4, incumbent Jana Swearengen-Washington defeated challenger Teri Dockery with 7,866 votes to 2,906. For District 5, Philip Spinosa defeated fellow challengers Meggan Kiel and Luke Hatler with Spinosa receiving 8.860 votes, Kiel 6,936, and Hatler 721. The seat was previously held by Worth Morgan.  

Incumbent Edmund Ford Sr. held on to the District 6 seat, defeating challengers Keith D. Austin II and Larry Hunter. Ford led the vote count with 10,138 followed by Austin with 1,924 and Hunter with 1,183. I 

Janika White secured the Super 8, District 2 seat previously held by Cheyenne Johnson. White defeated fellow challengers Davin Clemons and Marion Alexandria-Williams with White earning 26,234 votes to Clemons 5,624 and Alexandria-Williams 4,244.  

In the Super 8, Position 3 seat previously held by Memphis City Council Chairman Martavius Jones, Yolanda Cooper-Sutton was victorious with 9,407 votes to the 7,601 votes of Brian Harris, 6,944 votes of Jerred Price, 5,848 votes of Berlin Boyd, 3,170 votes of Paul Randolph Jr., 2,470 votes of Lucille Catron, and 829 votes of Damon Curry Morris.  

Incumbent Chase Carlile defeated challenger Benji Smith 29,091-13,155 for the Super 9, District 1 seat while incumbent J. Ford Canale defeated challenger Brandon Washington 26,719-16,127 for the Super 9, District 2 seat.  

Two candidates also ran unopposed and were elected to their seats. Incumbent J.B. Smiley was re-elected to the Super District 8, Position 1 seat with33,607 complimentary votes while fellow incumbent Jeff Warren was elected to the Super District 9, Position 3 seat with 36,538 complimentary votes.  

Run-offs will be held on Nov. 16 in the District 2, District 3, District 7 and races where no candidate secured enough of the vote to be declared the winner.  

Jerri Green and Scott McCormick will advance to the run-off in the District 2 race, defeating challengers Keith L. Burks, Will Frazier, Rodanial Ray Ransom, and Mark White for the seat previously held by Frank Colvett. In District 3, James E. Kirkwood and Pear Eva Walker fended off challengers from Ricky Dixon, Kawanias McNeary, and Towanna C. Murphy to advance. The seat was previously held by Patrice J. Robinson. In District 7,  incumbent Michalyn Easter-Thomas will face off against Jimmy Hassan in November after fending off challenges from Edward Douglas, Jarrett Parks, Dee Reed, Austin Rowe, and Larry Springfield.  


A historic election in Nashville saw the selection of a new mayor and the first majority-female city council in the city’s history. 

Former city councilman Freddie O’Connell defeated challenger Alice Rolli for the mayoral seat with O’Connell earning 61,840 votes to Rolli’s 34,384.  

For the at-large city council seats, incumbent Burkley Allen will be joined by former District 29 Councilmember Delishia Porterfield and newcomers Quin Evans-Segall and Olivia Hill on the council, defeating challengers Chris Cheng, Howard Jones, and Jeff Syracuse, and incumbent Russ Pulley. Porterfield led the vote count with 42,143 followed by Evans-Segall with 40,432, Allen with 38,601, Hill with 37,409, Cheng with 36,061, Jones with 33,841, Syracuse with 31,557, and Pulley with 30,833.  

In the initial election, only Zulfat “Z” Suara garnered enough votes to gain a seat on the council.  

Other run-offs were decided for district seats in Nashville. In District 4, newcomer Mike Cortese defeated fellow challenger Davette Blalock with 2,151 votes to 1,875. The seat had previously been held by Robert Swope.  

 In District 11, newcomer Jeff Eslick defeated challenger Eric Patton with 1,705 votes to 1,678. The seat was formerly held by Larry Hagar. For District 29, newcomer Tasha Ellis defeated John Reed with 1,322 votes to 780. The seat was previously held by Delisha Portfield.