NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Saturday is officially the last day to cast your ballot early in the runoff elections for multiple positions within the Metro Nashville government, including the mayor.
While the mayoral race is non-partisan, progressive Freddie O’Connell and conservative Alice Rolli were the top two candidates during the August election. O’Connell secured 27% of the votes while Rolli received 20%.
From homelessness, to East Bank development and the Titans’ stadium deal, to crime, News 2 interviewed both candidates one-on-one ahead of Election Day.
“Our first day as mayor, we will invite Chief Drake and hope that he will accept continuing on as our city’s police chief,” Rolli said.
For both candidates, public safety is high on the priority list, which includes retaining and recruiting officers for the Metro Nashville Police Department.
“We know the state of Tennessee gave a large raise to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, so we needed to follow suit for police here on the ground,” O’Connell said.
O’Connell was elected to Metro Council in 2015. He was against license plate readers, which critics argue target minority communities.
However, when it comes to other top headlines from this past year, the stadium deal and the East Bank also took center focus.
“East Bank is going to be one of the most important things we do as a city for the next four years,” O’Connell said. “We know the Titans want to play football in a new stadium by 2027. That means Metro’s going to have obligations.
“I was happy to see the East Bank vision plan come forward in the last couple of weeks, and I am supportive of the direction we are taking,” Rolli said.
As for the candidates’ prioritized issues, Rolli — a former teacher and businesswoman — said education is at the top of her mind.
“The most pressing issues that we have heard on the campaign trail over and over again is making sure that we are investing in our next generation,” Rolli said.
For O’Connell, affordable housing and transportation has defined his campaign.
“I think the biggest thing right now is the recognition that it has just gotten harder to live in Nashville,” O’Connell said.
The final opportunity for early voting is from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9. After that, polls won’t reopen until Election Day, which is 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 14. For more information about Nashville runoff elections, click here.