Council's Crafton, Craddock won't rule out mayoral run against Dean

Wednesday, February 2, 2011 at 10:05pm

Two of Karl Dean’s fiercest critics on the Metro Council aren’t ruling out launching election bids to unseat the well-financed, relatively popular mayor, signaling a potential insurgent campaign could be brewing.

Conservative council members Michael Craddock and Eric Crafton both told The City Paper Wednesday they aren’t closing the door on potential mayoral runs. Dean is up for re-election in August. Candidates can pick up paperwork to qualify for Metro’s elections on Feb. 18. They have until May 19 to file their petition papers. Dean still lacks an opponent.

“I never close any doors,” Crafton said. “I just have to evaluate and see who else throws their hat into the ring. I want the mayor to have some competition and to have to discuss some issues. I don’t think he’s earned the right to run unopposed with some of the decisions he’s made. So, I think at the very least, he needs to be challenged.”

Craddock and Crafton both ran unsuccessful local campaigns last year for Davidson County Criminal Court clerk and Juvenile Court clerk, respectively. The two council members, who were outspoken opponents of Dean’s Music City Center push, seem to believe Dean has turned more vulnerable following his recent retreat on his desire to redevelop the Metro-owned fairgrounds.

“In the last two or three months, I’ve had a lot of people who have come up to me and encouraged me to do that,” Craddock said of running for mayor. “Quite frankly, I’ve not decided to do it. I don’t know.

“Basically, the way I do things like that, I have to sit down and talk to my family and think through it myself,” Craddock said.

“Never say never,” he added. 

Craddock represents parts of Madison, while Crafton represents segments of Bellevue. As conservative allies on the council, it’s unlikely both would jump in the mayor’s race. However, neither ruling it out seems to validate whispers within local political circles that Dean’s opponents are looking to recruit a candidate to run against the mayor.

“Obviously, you have to determine by the deadline, so that will be my criteria,” Crafton said. “I wouldn’t want to let the mayor run unopposed. There may be a candidate that pops up shortly who is well-funded, articulate and able to talk about issues. We’ll just have to see what happens.” 

On one political issue, Dean has already defeated Crafton. In 2008, a mayor-led coalition helped defeat Crafton’s controversial “English-only” referendum.

Dean also ultimately won his push for Music City Center, though he’s facing a political setback with his thwarted plans to redevelop the fairgrounds. 

Any candidate challenging Dean faces an uphill battle financially. According to the financial disclosure Dean turned in Monday, the mayor has nearly $426,000 cash on hand, the Metro Election Commission’s Joan Nixon said. 

Moreover, as Dean showed in 2007, he always has the ability to dip into his personal wealth to finance his campaign. In defeating a handful of mayoral candidates, most notably former U.S. Rep. Bob Clement, Dean relied on more than $1 million of his family’s own fortunes.  

57 Comments on this post:

By: bfra on 2/3/11 at 4:07

How is Karl relatively popular? Of course he is fully financed, with his wife's money that bought his last election. Any over that amount, I would love to see an audit on.

I think, at this point, anyone with consideration of the people that elect them and has Nashville's best interest at heart, can beat Karl, at anything. Come on people, let's give Karl, a oneway ticket back up North!

By: richgoose on 2/3/11 at 7:23

While I endorse both Crafton and Craddock,neither poses much threat to Karl Dean.

By: fdanshep on 2/3/11 at 7:40

If folks want to contribute to an absolute losing cause, send some money to Eric Crafton's campaign should he decide to run.

By: govskeptic on 2/3/11 at 8:01

Only as a last resort with no other viable candidates in the race!
It one does emerge this would only take away from that vote!

By: gdiafante on 2/3/11 at 8:17

"How is Karl relatively popular?"

Um...he won the election...

Oh that's right, it's a conspiracy, it was rigged. My bad.

By: Community-carl-... on 2/3/11 at 8:43

As a retired Metro employee (due to a series of mostly unpublicized departmental budget cuts much greater than other Metro Departments) I have had ample opportunities to observe the way Dean (and R. Riebeling) manipulate situations, financial records, and departmental operating procedures to achieve their personal goals which are not necessarily the will, or in the best interests, of local citizens. Witness the demise of the beloved Metro Community Education program during Dean's tenure. ....... And the man has the audacity to call himself the "Education Mayor." ......What a hypocrite.......

Additionally, I am thoroughly disgusted with the way he has attempted to hijack the Fairgrounds. And in a few years when financial failure of the new Convention Center becomes a reality (and it will) , we taxpaying citizens will rue the day it was approved as we bear the burden of increased taxes to make payments on the bonds issued for its construction.

I intend to vote for anybody who runs against Dean.

Make Dean a one-term-mayor.

By: tv8527 on 2/3/11 at 8:51

Please please run Mr Craddock We need someone with commonsense & a good head on his shoulders.If you run put me sown for a 4x4 yard sign.

By: tv8527 on 2/3/11 at 8:52


By: global_citizen on 2/3/11 at 9:09

Crafton and Craddock are both drinking their own Kool-Aid if either of them think they stand a snowball's chance in hades of defeating Dean in the next mayoral election. That literally makes me laugh out loud.

Crafton is a self-serious buffoon. What name recognition he does have is due to consistently negative headlines over the last 15 years. Craddock is not as recognized as he thinks he is. Show his name or face to 90% of Nashville and they couldn't tell you who he is. Both of them appeal to a very small minority of disgruntled old white conservative males.

Why do these small time local politicians think they are remotely qualified to be Nashville's mayor?

By: trtay2004 on 2/3/11 at 9:20

I just wish I could get Eric Crafton to clean up his slum rental property at 617 N 2nd street before he starts any other adventures.

By: shey69 on 2/3/11 at 10:04

I'm glad I'm not the only one to comment here that actually voted for Dean and I'd like to say I am very please with his progress. That doesn't mean he is perfect or that i will agree with everything he does. It is not about me! it is about the best for everyone and i believe Dean does consider this in his decisions.

I worked in the trade show industry for 12 years and understand the demise of the industry in general. nevertheless, there will still be a need for trade shows (big trade shows) and Nashville is the ideal location with the right ideas and talent to pull off what the industry will need for the future.

The fairgrounds/racetrack issue is full of emotion on both sides, but ultimately this has to go! Downtown is no place for a racetrack. Unless you live nearby you should not have a say in this. The State Fair is an embarrassment- maybe we could vamp it up in a bigger location. The flea market would be nice to keep around, but i don't know if it is possible- maybe they could if it attracted more events in the same location. otherwise we could see better vendors, and more business at the Farmers Market if they moved to those spots.

Ultimately, who cares what the politicians think. It should be about what is best for the people, and I don't think there are many old white men that know much (or care much) about what the people need today.

By: bfra on 2/3/11 at 10:15

g - That was then, this is now, after Karl has shown his true back stabbing, throw taxpayers under the bus, for his own EGO monuments & power pushes.

By: FANOF711 on 2/3/11 at 11:02

i will vote for anyone who runs against KARL FAT HEAD DEAN, he has lied more than alot of people relise
he reminds me of a rich kidd thats told no, and does it anyway more like a spoiled
brat !
dont forget the threat he made to nashvillians during the battle over the racetrack & fairgrounds
that if he didnt get his way and the fairgrounds stayed there would be a property tax increase did you forget this about good ole KARL DEAN !!!!

By: MocMewn on 2/3/11 at 11:03

I don't think Crafton or Cradock have a chance at dethroning Dean. Personally, I think Dean ought to be impeached, and I (regrettably) voted for him. But, beware of voting for anyone running against Dean, or the next mayor could be another Bill Boner! I would like to see an upstanding, respectable, well-spoken and (dare I dream) honest person who truly has the people of Davidson County's best interest at heart. If no one comes forward, then I will be writing in my vote for "NO ONE".

Dean is a self-serving egoist. Metro has lots of other properties that could be sold or developed. Why is the Fairground property so damned important? Probably because it was part of an under-the-table deal to get his monument, I mean, Convention Center built. With all the controversy over this piece of land, anyone else would let the neighborhood and/or city council settle the dispute. Dean is pushing way to hard on this issue for it to be anything but personal. Maybe he just doesn't like having anyone oppose him or his ideas. At any rate, the only thing people will remember when they go to the polls, is the convention center and the fairgrounds, because that is basically all he has involved himself in. Where people stand on these two issues will determine if he gets reelected or not. And for those of you who choose to vote FOR Dean, remember that you were responsible for reelecting him when he digs deeper into your pockets to fund his special agendas. Look for him to raise your property taxes and tack on a city tax on top of the state sales tax. Let's just hope you have a job then to pay for it all.

By: FANOF711 on 2/3/11 at 11:18

and your right hes fighting to damd hard for the fairgrounds property i feel theres something there we dont know about

By: gohomenow on 2/3/11 at 11:51

How do Nashville's papers figure that Ding is so popular and undefeatable ? I believe it is propaganda put out by Nashville's media because Dean's antics sell papers by enraging so many peope. No one I know that lives in Nashville is behind Ding, we are tired of his trying to make money off of us !
Sheriff Hall is a viable candidate, and has a great chance. He's from Nashville, and understands what problems we face with illegal immigration and crime. Growth is certainly not a problem - there are way too many people here already !

By: bfra on 2/3/11 at 11:55

Sheriff Hall IMO, could win by a landslide, but I have seen no indication he is interested. I wish someone would change his mind!

By: bfra on 2/3/11 at 11:58

If there was a place on the ballot for, VOTE KARL OUT, that would also get a landslide of votes!

By: RJP on 2/3/11 at 1:06

rjp Mayor Dean thank you and your Council members for listening to the citizens of not just Davidson county but the state. The best playground ever, with the best music you would ever want to hear. Mixed use,sure would be nice to have farmers market there, and fine food. Lots willing to work together to make it one of a kind. Can't wait to see the creek clean, and full of wild life. Full of people and fun. Can't get that just any where but Nashville TN ! Looks like we need to start on light rail to the fair grounds. What a cool ride over the river with a little travel along the riverside. Pretty cool place so far! I know the fairgrounds is a small thing with having to run the whole city. THANKS AGAIN

By: FANOF711 on 2/3/11 at 1:17

what has he been smokeing ?

By: oldhickorytony on 2/3/11 at 2:19

Yep! This is just more proof positive that none of the local newspaper comment sections ever come close to being representative of the opinion of Nashville voters. Mayor Dean is doing just fine with the majority of Nashville voters (and is more than just "somewhat" popular). Among many other things, he did a fantastic job of leading Nashville through the destruction of the May floods. Thank you, Mayor Dean!

By: Ingleweird on 2/3/11 at 2:20

I think Eric Crafton should be saving up money to pay his property taxes ON TIME before even considering opening up a campaign fund for higher office!

By: bfra on 2/3/11 at 2:48

oldhickory - Be more specific about details, just what did Karl do during the floods or name any of the many other things you are claiming. Now don't hold back, you have all the space in this column.

Oh, can't think of anything? No surprise!

By: global_citizen on 2/3/11 at 3:21

It really cracks me up how so many people here want to besmirch Karl Dean with innuendo and insinuation, but can't seem to make a single concrete accusation. Wonder why that is? I think the answer is obvious.

By: bfra on 2/3/11 at 3:28

global - Haven't seen any innuendos or insinuation, just facts! Can you name anything Karl has done for the citizens. He hasn't improved schools, he has threatened to raise tax, he has threatened to pull the yellow trucks in areas that don't agree with him, he has put the taxpayers under the burden of his white elephant and he has tried to steal the Fairgrounds and pump money into a failing mall to satisfy his cohorts. Just to name a few. Now, name something he HAS done for the citizens.

By: Captain Nemo on 2/3/11 at 3:40

Both Craddock and Crafton have little support outside their collective districts. I guess there is no stopping the over inflated egos these two have.

By: bfra on 2/3/11 at 4:04

Nemo - Their egos can't be any more inflated than Karl's.

By: Captain Nemo on 2/3/11 at 4:49


I have deal with all three and yes Craddock’s and Crafton’s ego are greater, but not as intelligent as Dean’s.

I don’t care what you think of Dean, these two would make it worst. They have the Bonner gene in them. lol

By: pswindle on 2/3/11 at 4:56

We need someone that can win. George Cate where are you?

By: global_citizen on 2/3/11 at 5:05

bfra, the man is doing the job he was elected to do. But I guess in your skewed perspective, his having an agenda that you disagree with plus your personal animosity toward him equates to assuming he must be corrupt.

I've seen nothing in what you mention that is outside the bounds of his authority, and in my opinion I admire him for doing the tough things that will benefit the long term good of the city even if it irritates irrational people like you.

By: global_citizen on 2/3/11 at 5:12

Some people seem to have a very short memory. Who were the mayoral candidates in the last mayoral primary? David Briley, Buck Dozier, Howard Gentry, Bob Clement, and Karl Dean.

Of those five, Gentry and Dean are the only two that I could picture becoming mayor and be taken seriously while not having a cringe factor.

Full disclosure, I have worked with Karl Dean. I'm not just some internet crank lobbing innuendo from afar. He has an admirable concern for the schools and is very active in visiting schools and recruiting community support for the schools. But let's face it, Nashville schools have troubles bigger than any one man can overcome.

Dean also has a good long term vision for Nashville's business and civic community. I think he's doing a great job and I'm very proud to call him my mayor.

By: Captain Nemo on 2/3/11 at 5:12

There is a lot worse out there than Dean. I am just glade that none of them were elected.

By: Captain Nemo on 2/3/11 at 5:19

Good night all and don't worry. Somehow we will make it through it.

By: bfra on 2/3/11 at 7:55

global - I am sure every taxpayer in Davidson Co. is well aware of Karl's "visions". If not, they can go down town and view the building of one, his MCC ego boosting white elephant. There they can watch their money being spent, probably faster than they can count. Then they can go visit some schools, with over crowded classes, shortage of teachers and with out necessary supplies. His "admirable concern" hasn't done much to rectify those situations. No! I don't think he has done a great job, as you put it.

By: bfra on 2/3/11 at 7:57

Nemo - They don't call a Fox intelligent, that's usually sly or smart.

By: TITAN1 on 2/4/11 at 5:37

Dean isn't perfect, I believe in the convention center, but I don't think he had a clue how people would feel about the fairgrounds. As for Crafton, my screen name says it all.

By: global_citizen on 2/4/11 at 7:36

Well, bfra, instead of being a keyboard commando and whining about everything, won't you step up to the plate and run for Metro Council or something. Then we'll see what YOU can do about it.

By: treehugger7 on 2/4/11 at 7:39

Since the choices in the election were pitiful, the least offensive candidate won. Can you imagine listening to four years of twerpy Bob Clement? I believe I'd slit my wrists! Remember that our choices for mayor SUCKED!!

By: treehugger7 on 2/4/11 at 7:41

Not that our choices are looking any better now. No more old white men!

By: Funditto on 2/4/11 at 8:07

I just hope Crapton runs so I can create and sell some bumper stickers. Ideas?

By: Funditto on 2/4/11 at 8:07

I don't think bfra lives in Davidson County...

By: bfra on 2/4/11 at 8:23

Fun - I have been a Davidson Countian for many, many years! What do you have against people that don't live in Davidson Co.?

Global - If Karl's wife wants to buy me the office, also, I might consider it. I just hope that somebody steps up that considers necessities & the public, for a change. What position do you hold in Karl's fantasy land?

By: dogmrb on 2/4/11 at 9:04

Like many Nashvillians, I approve of Karl Dean and the changes he is making in our infrastructure and his emphasis on healthy living.

By: Funditto on 2/4/11 at 9:21

For some reason I thought you lived in Williamson. My mistake! I have nothing against outside folks...or Karl Dean. He was the only choice. Clement was sad.

By: bfra on 2/4/11 at 9:47

dogma - What emphasis had Karl made on healthy living?

By: bfra on 2/4/11 at 9:49

Fun - Maybe it's because you don't know Clement. He would have been a godsend over Karl and is much, much more intelligent.

By: bfra on 2/4/11 at 9:49

dogma - make that has, instead on had!

By: gdiafante on 2/4/11 at 11:56

Bfra, if you have evidence of election fraud, stand up and present it. Otherwise, enough with your ridiculous, whiny rants about Dean.

Is there a bigger sore loser in the city?

By: trtay2004 on 2/4/11 at 12:05

I'm one of the many that's very impressed with Karl Dean and will vote for him anytime. Keep up the phenomenal work Mr. Mayor.

By: bfra on 2/4/11 at 12:36

g - Who said anything about fraud, except you? Can you name any good things Karl has done for Nashville, none of the others can? Politicians buy their way into offices all the time, and as many have pointed out, "follow the money".