Bell knocks off Jameson in General Sessions judge race

Tuesday, March 6, 2012 at 11:32pm

In an outcome few Metro observers expected, Rachel Bell handily won the Democratic primary for a Davidson County General Sessions judgeship, knocking off Mike Jameson, who was appointed to the bench in the fall.

Bell, a 34-year-old attorney who has practiced law for seven years, beat Jameson, a former two-term Metro councilman, by a relatively wide vote margin, 8,649 to 6,294 (54 percent to 39 percent).

Jack Byrd finished a distant third, with 1,203 votes (7 percent).

When contacted by The City Paper, Bell cited her favorite Biblical expression.

“But God!” Bell said. “That’s all I would like to say. If you just put that in the paper, that will be enough for me.

“ ‘But God!’ means any and everything you need, you have faith in him, and you work hard, God will give you the vision,” she said.

With her victory, Bell is the heavy favorite to defeat independent candidate Michael Rowan in the August general election for General Sessions Division 8 judge. If she does, Bell would become the second African-American and fourth female of the 11 presiding Davidson County General Sessions judges.

Jameson, an attorney since 1990 and East Nashville councilman from 2003-11, was appointed General Sessions judge by the Metro Council in November to replace the late Leon Rueben. Jameson will continue serving on the bench until the general election is decided this summer.

“It’s certainly no fun losing, but I am grateful of the fact that the result at least creates a bit more diversity on the bench,” Jameson said. “Rachel was right. That is a necessary element that she brings.”

Bell’s win Tuesday added up to something of a local political shocker. Based on virtually every metric, Jameson was labeled the frontrunner.

Jameson had a campaign war chest of $88,000, more than double Bell’s fundraising figure, an advantage Jameson used to air a television commercial. In a poll of Nashville Bar Association members, 49 percent “highly recommended” Jameson for the job, while only 7 percent did the same for Bell. Twenty percent of respondents didn’t recommend Bell.

Jameson enjoyed support of local politicos with big names, including: former Mayor Bill Purcell; council members Megan Barry, Jerry Maynard, Ronnie Steine, Tim Garrett, Jason Holleman, Emily Evans; and state Reps. Mike Turner and Mike Stewart.

But a low turnout Democratic primary that consisted of only down-ballot races proved unpredictable. Bell won with room to spare.

“I think she ran an excellent campaign,” Jameson said. “She’s to be commended for that.”

14 Comments on this post:

By: cmarcus45 on 3/7/12 at 8:03

Glad to see Rachel Bell get the nod yesterday. And Kudos to Jameson for being diplomatic in the loss. Wonder why there are no quotes from Byrd?!

By: tdterry1999 on 3/7/12 at 8:11

I've got to wonder if getting all the long time local politicos to endorse him hurt his chances?

By: leanright on 3/7/12 at 8:47

Bet the super libs like Megan Berry, Purcell and Super Shoplifter are crying this morning?

By: Jughead on 3/7/12 at 9:23

Hahahaha---Super Shoplifter---still amazes me that a thief was re-elected to Metro.

We need to add a whoremonger--Brady Banks---to the list of Council "dignitaries."

By: Jughead on 3/7/12 at 9:24

..and, I agree...if Megan Berry preaches to me one more damn time about gays/lesbians/transfreatards/whatever rights, I'm gonna puke. She's a disgrace.

By: JohnGalt on 3/7/12 at 10:00

The endorsements Bell received didn't tout her legal knowledge or experience, they only called for more diversity on the bench and endorsed her race.

By: Nitzche on 3/7/12 at 11:35

Bell ran the Affirmative Action campaign, wonder how ole Mike feels on the other end of this refreshing Mantra? Knowing Mike, he is pleased, glad to further the better good of society at his expense!

By: BigDdemo on 3/7/12 at 12:17

The God squad should be pleased as well--even if she is...gasp...dare I use the derogatory term, "Real Estate Attorney"? God help us, indeed.

By: cmarcus45 on 3/7/12 at 12:29

BidD -- Rachel Bell does more than just real estate. I am a white male attorney who supports her.

By: Hkeegan on 3/7/12 at 12:48

I find it disturbin when a reporter makes a statement referring as to who is the favorite in any campaign. I do know Mr. Rowan will get a lot of the Jewish vote. He will get mine. It is my understanding he is Cathlic, but I am not sure. He grewup in the Cathlic / Jewish community in Westmead. So who knows, but time, and the City paper might be able to report the words "Shock" again. Mr. Rowan reminds me of Joe Lieberman, a goodman, and deticated to his religious belief. Thanks.

By: JessicaNeal on 3/7/12 at 1:53

Mike Rowan, an attorney and small business owner born and raised in Nashville, will be worthy competition for Rachel Bell.
His strong character is influenced by his education, at St. Henry's and Father Ryan, his military service in the Army, and family life as a father.
If you plan to vote in the August election for General Sessions Judge, please consider the candidates equally. You will find something you like in Mike ;)

Jessica Neal
Native Nashvillian

By: politico on 3/7/12 at 3:07

Looks like Davidson County has 2 “outsiders” to choose from. Goes to show its time for a new age. I congratulate Ms. Bell on her win, but having attended a couple of her speaking engagements I do have some concern. I’ve heard both candidates speak and Rowan seems to be the only candidate interested in bringing a new light to the bench in terms of a fairness for all parties besides simply Ms. Bell’s concerns for diversity, which seem solely centered on positioning herself to win a race.

By: politicaljunkie on 3/7/12 at 4:20

I don't agree with the writer of this column that Ms. Bell is the heavy favorite, let's not put the cart before the horse. Yes she beat two heavily favored candidates in a primary election when no one really went to the polls. Yes it was 54% to 39% if the writers math is correct, and I'll give him the benefit of the doubt on this issue, but not on the rest of his points. The low voter turnout favored Ms. Bell in this election, had there been a heavier turnout, I have a distinct feeling that Ms. Bell would not still be in the running in August. That being said, I have heard both of the candidates speak recently and I have to tell you the only thing I ever heard come out of Ms. Bell's mouth was vote for me and lets get some diversity on the bench. She never stated her qualifications, nor did she hint to the fact that she even knew exactly what the job entailed. Personally I can't with a good conscience vote for someone just because they are black or white, male or female. I have to vote for the person best suited for the position, and so far she has yet to prove to me that she is that person. When Mr. Rowan spoke, he at least gave us a sense of his background in regard to the law, his education, and his military career. Also I walked away from the evening feeling like I knew what he stood for as a candidate. I simply didn't get that from Ms. Bell. So I can not in good conscience cast a vote for her in August just because she is a black woman.

By: govskeptic on 3/9/12 at 6:51

Ms. Bell is a very personable individual, but would not be the best
candidate for this Judgeship. A contest based solely on diversity rather
than competence to handle an extremely busy schedule will not provide
the results sorely needed in this position!