NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — John Cooper has won the election for Nashville mayor, giving the growing southern city its third mayor in less than two years.
The metro councilman defeated incumbent Mayor David Briley in Thursday’s runoff election, continuing his momentum from an Aug. 1 general election in which he outpaced Briley by about 10 percentage points. Briley conceded Thursday night.
“We’re going to have more growth in the next five years than in the last five years,” Cooper said in a victory speech. “Those new cranes are lifting up our skyline. We need to lift up our people with it. That is our challenge — using this prosperity to build a better, more livable city.”
Briley began serving as mayor in March 2018 after former Mayor Megan Barry pleaded guilty to a felony and resigned over an extramarital affair with her bodyguard. Briley won a special election in May 2018 to serve the rest of Barry’s term.
Briley and Cooper are Democrats in the progressive capital city of a firmly Republican state, though the race for a four-year term as mayor of the combined city-county government is technically nonpartisan.
Cooper, a real estate developer and the brother of Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, endured attacks from Briley on the campaign trail over his Democratic credentials. The state Republican Party intervened in the race to attack Briley without mentioning Cooper.
Cooper, however, assured that he is a lifelong Democrat. Throughout the campaign, Cooper promised financial responsibility in office and a focus on Nashville’s neighborhoods.
He also campaigned on ensuring that all of the city’s communities benefit from a boom in tourism and downtown development.