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David Briley declares victory in special election for Nashville Mayor

(Fox 17 News)

Incumbent David Briley declared victory in the special election for Nashville Mayor on Thursday.

Mayor David Briley took the stage for a victory speech after 8 p.m. With almost 30 of 161 precincts reporting, Briley held the lead with nearly 56 percent of the vote.

“I think it’s more important tonight to think about what Nashville did; we came together and we deeply understand we’re headed in the right direction," Briley said.

Briley said he was humbled by the support of the Davidson county voters.

“Early tomorrow I’ll go back to work on our back-to-basics agenda, and the commitment that Nashville’s continued success should benefit our entire city," Briley said. "Together we can make that happen by sharpening focus on stronger schools, affordability, managing growth and traffic solutions that keep us moving. I look forward to working with our Metro Council to make progress on those issues that are important to families and neighborhoods across our great city.”

He also expressed frustration at the tone and tenor of the short election. He asked Nashvillians to be kinder to one another and more accepting of different backgrounds. His speech emphasized the need to make this a city where everyone feels welcomed.

"I think there was a fair amount of hostility and discord in this very brief election, and it’s not the Nashville I know," Briley said. "It’s not where I grew up. It’s not what were known for. I think we’ve got to do a little bit of work on that."

He promised Davidson County voters that he would focus on making sure the city does not have another budget shortfall. He said he wants to be able to reward city employees with the raises he believes they deserve.

After the polls closed at 7 p.m., early voting totals put current Nashville Mayor David Briley ahead with 56 percent of the votes, well ahead of the other 13 candidates. Carol Swain held the next highest total with 23 percent of the early votes.

Swain gave a concession speech, saying she looks forward to working with Briley. The runner up explained that she will continue to work holding politicians accountable.

"I think with Mayor Briley in office to a certain extent is going to be the same old same old unless people hold him accountable," Swain said. "He needs to replace the police chief. He doesn't seem to get it that the moral is weakened in the police department and the fire department. They need equipment. And there's so much infrastructure that's been neglected."

Swain and her supporters said they remain positive and look toward the future.

"In the disappointment, there's also hope because there's a galvanization of people here that we're going to hold this administration, Mr. Briley's administration, accountable," Nashville resident Karen Porter said. "Just like we did with transit. Just like we did with the recall. We're banded together and we're not going to stop."

Swain said she's not sure if she will run for mayor again in 2019.

"I just want Nashville to thrive, and I believe that we have a better government than we have right now," Swain said.

Stick with Fox 17 News for the latest results as we get them. CLICK HERE for live results.

HOW WE GOT HERE

In early March, Vice Mayor David Briley was sworn in as mayor following Megan Barry's resignation. Barry resigned as mayor that morning as part of her conditional guilty plea to federal theft over $10,000. These charges stemmed from her extramarital affair with her former head of security.

Section 15.03 of the charter explains special elections, stating if the mayor steps down during an unexpired term, a special election must be held if the vice mayor would hold the position for more than 12 months prior to the next general election date.

Mayor Barry was elected on September 10, 2015 and her term will not end until August 2019. The special election on May 24 will decide the mayor until August 2019.

In March, Ludye Wallace filed a lawsuit to call for a special election for the office of mayor on either May 1 or between May 21 and May 26. A chancery court judge heard the lawsuit on March 14 and upheld the decision to have the race on August 2 with the support of the Secretary of State's Office.

That decision was ultimately overturned, and a special election was scheduled for May 24, with a $1,000,000 cost to taxpayers.



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