ELECTION UPDATE: Dean, Clement match-up set; Gentry & Dozier concede

Thursday, August 2, 2007 at 9:53pm

It appears Nashville's next mayor will either be former Congressman Bob Clement or former Metro public defender Karl Dean.

The duo's next closest competition, Vice Mayor Howard Gentry, conceded his bid to be Nashville's next mayor sometime around 9 p.m., leaving the city with what appears to be a run off match-up September 11 between Clement and Dean.

With the Davidson County Election Commission reported 110 of 170 precincts in, Clement sat at 21,035 votes or 23.7 percent and Dean at 21,777, or 24.6 percent of the vote. Gentry followed next with 19,564 or 22.1 percent followed by Dozier with 15,644. At-Large Councilman David Briley trailed the field with 9,772.

Neither Dean nor Clement appeared near the 50 percent + 1 mark, the amount needed to avoid a run-off.

The run off race for mayor appeared to already be already underway even before the final precincts were reported. Clement's campaign issued a press release attacking a legal opinion Dean issued as Metro legal director saying a charter amendment passed by popular referendum last year requiring a popular vote to raise Metro property taxes was legally questionable.

Gentry's conceded about two hours after polls closed. A spokesperson for his campaign said Gentry's theme of asking voters to "Believe" in his campaign "resonated."

"We had been counted out by the press and the pundits - people who said because he didn't have any money he didn't have a chance," Gentry spokesperson Evans Donnell said. "Those people were obviously wrong."

Dozier conceded even earlier in the evening, saying his larely grass roots campaign did a "great job."

"I've called all the other candidates," Dozier told The City Paper. "...I am disappointed but not discouraged. I feel like we did a great job, and I wouldn't change a thing about our campaign."

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