It’s back to business as usual for newly elected officials, Congressman Jim Cooper, Davidson County Clerk Brenda Wynn and State Representatives Brenda Gilmore and Harold Love, Jr. Each walked away with a whopping win, gobbling up the majority of the votes cast. Both Gilmore and Love ran unopposed.
All, but Gilmore watched the results and celebrated at Cooper’s watch party at Loews Vanderbilt Hotel. She attended the watch party on the other side of downtown at Jazz and Jokes, hosted by Councilman Lonnell Matthews, Jr.
At the Cooper gathering, break ins of cheering, clapping, picture taking and hugs went around the room. It was a big night for Democrats, particularly for Cooper who beat out GOP candidate Brad Staats with 65 percent of the vote. He told a swelling crowd of about 250 people at his watch party Tuesday night that he is going back to the office right after the election because there is more work to do.
Joining Cooper on stage was his former staff member, now Davidson County Clerk Wynn, the county’s first African American clerk. As soon as she entered the room, cheering supporters swarmed around her, showering her with hugs and kisses. Wynn came out on top over candidates Jeff Crum and Kenneth Eaton with nearly 74 percent of the votes. She addressed the crowd in tears, overcome with emotion and joy. She told the crowd that the road was long with a sweet ending.
“I’ve been on this journey since late June or early July. I’ve had some great friends and supporters along the way. Trust God and don’t try and move on your own power. We do nothing on our own power. It’s only with God’s help that we can do certain things,” said Wynn.
Wynn worked more than 10 years in Cooper’s office as director of community outreach after he took office in 2003. She also worked as the first director of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods under Mayor Bill Purcell from 1999 to 2002.
“I’m so eternally grateful for the confidence that the voters of Davidson County have showed in my appointed and to my election. They have affirmed what the Metro Council did. I’m grateful to the Democratic Party. I’m just so excited,” added Wynn.
Though expected, Gilmore and Love were still excited about their victories sending them to the House of Representatives. Gilmore, District 54 representative, was the incumbent. She is now embarking on her sixth year in the House. Prior to serving in the Representative seat, she served eight years as a member of the Davidson County Metro Council.
The day after the election, Love went straight into a district meeting. He said he did so intentionally. He said he wanted to go straight into his first day as Representative of District 58 meeting “To be official is a wonderful thing. Now you can officially get to work. I planned that meeting specifically as my first official business meeting. And the day went on from there. It’s important to be officially in office because you’re not teetering on the question of can I begin having conversations about policy and our first 90 days,” said Love.
Despite the victories from Cooper, Gilmore and Love, Democrats remain the House minority, walking away with only 193 House seats compared to 234 held by Republicans. The Democrats took the Senate majority with 52 seats over the GOP’s 45 seats. Each individual victory is part of the bigger picture when forming and pushing policies.
“It’s extremely important. It gives you a base from which you can start. It also lets people know we’re not going to be a country of one party. We have two parties in there. We have to work together. Its’ extremely important for the base at the local levels because it encourages people to understand they need to support the Democrats or the Republican parties when forming policies,” added Love.