Erica Gilmore

NASHVILLE, TN — And now it’s a race.

Despite business leaders’ best efforts to make the election to replace former mayor Megan Barry a coronation for David Briley, the former vice-mayor – now holding Metro’s top job after Barry’s resignation – faces some formidable opposition.

As expected, Metro Councilmember At-Large Erica Gilmore made her candidacy official with a Wednesday morning announcement.

Gilmore, 42, represented District 19 – Germantown, Salemtown, parts of North Nashville and downtown – for two terms before being elected to the at-large spot in 2019.

Gilmore cited a ballooning homicide rate and growing economic inequality as key reasons she should run now, rather than wait for the standard mayoral election next year.

“I have a track record of getting results. I know I have the right message that will appeal to voters from all walks of life, in every zip code of our great city,” she said. “What we need more than continuity, is a mayor with a strong mandate from the voters. We have runaway economic inequality in Nashville right now. We’ve successfully built a thriving and prosperous ‘New Nashville.’ But far too many hard-working families aren’t sharing in the fruits of our city’s success.”

Gilmore received the second-highest number of votes among at-large candidates in the 2015 election with particularly strong results in the traditionally African-American neighborhoods north of downtown.

“My whole life, I’ve been a builder of bridges, bringing people together across differences in politics, background, class, and geography I’m eager to bring these leadership skills of collaboration, partnership, and coalition-building to the mayor’s office. It’s what a growing, diverse, city on-the-move like Nashville needs,” she said.

Gilmore had clearly been thinking about throwing her hat in the proverbial ring, having appointed a campaign treasurer the day after Barry’s resignation.

The special election is scheduled for August 2, though the Tennessee Supreme Court will hear a challenge to that date, as some argue the election should instead be scheduled for May.

Other potential candidates, including businessman and 2015 mayoral race third-place finisher Bill Freeman and longtime sheriff Daron Hall, have opted out of running. Nashville NAACP president and former Metro councilmember Luddye Wallace is officially a candidate and is the plaintiff in the election-date case.