Nashville Democrats nominated Brenda Wynn as its party’s nomination for county clerk Monday, making the U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper aide a heavy favorite to capture the seat in Democratic-leaning Davidson County come November.
Wynn, director of community outreach in Cooper’s congressional office, collected 27 votes from the Davidson County Democratic Party’s Executive Committee, which convened Monday to nominate a candidate to replace John Arriola, who resigned last month amid controversy over his systematic practice of collecting wedding-ceremony fees.
Former Metro Councilman Sam Coleman finished a distant second, receiving seven votes for the Democratic nomination. Businessman Kenneth Eaton, a former long-shot mayoral candidate in 2007, garnered zero votes Monday.
The Metro Council is set to appoint an interim county clerk in August to serve until the outcome of November’s election. Wynn’s victory could give her a significant edge in that contest as well.
“I’ve served the public for years, and the citizens of Davidson County need to know they can trust their elected officials,” a celebratory Wynn said following the vote. Wynn, who previously worked as former Mayor Bill Purcell’s Office of Neighborhoods director, said she intends to restore the “faith and confidence” in the county clerk’s office if elected in November.
“Over the next couple of months, we’re going to have to mount a campaign that reaches every square mile and every voter in this county,” Wynn said.
Monday’s nomination places Wynn on the Nov. 6 ballot as the Democratic nominee for county clerk. The party’s vote Monday functioned in lieu of a primary, as Arriola’s resignation occurred too late to add county clerk candidates to August’s party primaries.
It’s still unclear which –– if any –– Republican or independent would square off against Wynn in November. Nominees from either group would be heavy underdogs.
Davidson County Republican Party chair Kathleen Starnes told The City Paper three individuals have inquired about running for the clerk’s seat as Republicans, but she declined to identify names. Starnes said the county GOP still hasn’t set a date for nominating a candidate.
Before the November election, the Metro Council on Aug. 7 will appoint an interim county clerk.
The council will consider separate nomination letters for the same Democratic trio –– Wynn, Coleman and Eaton –– as well as former vice mayoral candidate James Baxter. More names could materialize. Nominations for the special council appointment won’t be finalized until Tuesday.
Wynn’s victory Monday could give her a leg-up in securing the appointment from a council that while officially nonpartisan, runs decidedly Democratic.
Until the council makes its appointment, there could be confusion which of Arriola’s former aides is supposed to run the office over the next month.
In conversations The City Paper had with Democrats Monday, some believed former deputy Joey Workman –– an Arriola favorite –– is currently commanding the post, while others said the leadership role should actually belong to veteran clerk deputy Mike Taylor.
Disagreement is consistent with a WTVF-TV, NewsChannel5 story that reported Arriola hand-picked Workman, who holds the title deputy clerk 4, to fill the role leading up to the council appointment. According to the television station’s report, Taylor carries the title chief deputy clerk, making him the logical heir to Arriola.