Mayor revs up re-election bid by announcing campaign staffers

Tuesday, February 8, 2011 at 4:16pm

Mayor Karl Dean announced members of his 2011 campaign staff on Tuesday, signaling the official launch of his six-month re-election bid.

The staff is a mix of campaign staffers who helped produce Dean’s 2007 win and a few new faces. According to the Davidson County Election office, Dean has nearly $426,000 in cash on hand. Election Day is Aug. 4, and no one has lined up to challenge the mayor yet.

In a news release that highlights the mayor’s record of leading Nashville through a historic flood and recession — both expected to be prominent campaign themes — Dean called his staff a group of “highly respected professionals.”

“The caliber of this team demonstrates Anne and my deep commitment to this election and the future of Nashville,” Dean said in a statement, referring to his wife, Anne Davis. “We intend to earn every vote, and I look forward to a campaign that tells Nashvillians where we want to take this city over the next four years.”

Leigh Walton, an attorney at Bass, Berry & Sims, will remain the campaign treasurer. She served the same role in the 2007 campaign that brought the relatively unknown Dean, then the city’s law director, to victory among a crowded field of candidates. Dean defeated former U.S. Rep. Bob Clement in a runoff.

Courtney Wheeler, who served as deputy campaign manager during Dean’s 2007 run, is the campaign manager. Following that campaign, Wheeler attended the Texas Tech School of Law, where she received her law degree last year. Wheeler, who served as the political director of the Tennessee Democratic Party in 2005, has worked on several campaigns.

Tom Hayden, former communications director for U.S. Rep. Lincoln Davis, who lost his re-election bid last year, has been named Dean’s deputy campaign manager and director of communications. Hayden worked in Davis’ office for eight years and previously worked for the Tennessee Democratic Party.

Longtime Tennessee Republican fundraiser Kim Kaegi will serve as Dean’s financial consultant. Kaegi, who helped Dean in 2007, also works as a financial consultant for U.S. Sen. Bob Corker and Gov. Bill Haslam.

Pollster Fred Yang has also joined Dean’s team. A partner at Washington-D.C.-based Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group, Yang performed polling for one of Dean’s opponents, former At-large Metro Councilman David Briley, during the 2007 campaign. Yang has also worked for former Gov. Phil Bredesen, U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper and assisted in Dean’s defeat of Councilman Eric Crafton’s “English-only” referendum.

Dean is retaining Mark Putnam as his media consultant. Putnam, founder of Putnam Partners, produced Dean’s television advertising in 2007. According to his company’s website, Putnam has produced more than 1,000 ads for Democratic candidates in 47 states.

Jim Hester, who served as Dean's campaign manager in 2007, will continue working as a top aide to the mayor. 

Dean still doesn’t have an opponent. Conservative Metro Council members Eric Crafton and Michael Craddock last week told The City Paper they aren’t ruling out runs against the mayor.

Candidates can pick up paperwork to qualify for Metro’s elections on Feb. 18. They have until May 19 to file their petition papers.  

29 Comments on this post:

By: AmyLiorate on 2/8/11 at 4:12

Gdiafante should run

By: karlwithak on 2/8/11 at 4:25

“The caliber of this team demonstrates Anne and my deep commitment to this election and the future of Nashville,” Dean said in a statement, referring to his wife, Anne Davis. “We intend to earn every vote, and I look forward to a campaign that tells Nashvillians where we want to take this city over the next four years.”

Dean surrounds himself with lots of people with VERY BIG MOUTHS !
He mentions his wife since it's her daddies money that funds every job he's ever had.
Anne Davis all too proudly told the other soccer moms during the last campaign(Karl never went to his kids soccer games) " I don't care how much money it costs we are not losing this election !"
Guess what snotty anne, those women despised you and your husband.
Coupled with the loud mouth never worked a real job Jim Hester who thinks no one heard him making fun of constituents at the council meetings and dean is about to go down in a great big ball of flames. You really think every metro employee is afraid of some of these clowns ?
People talk, people can be bought, dean should know that better than anyone.

Everyone has camera phones now, and every phone can record things within earshot. This is going to be a very fun election.
Bill Boner could win this one over dean

By: Ingleweird on 2/8/11 at 4:57

*FREE* Advice for Eric Crafton:
This year, pay your property taxes on time. How could we be expected to take a mayor seriously if he won't pay his property taxes on time? Make your check payable to:

Charlie Cardwell, Metropolitan Trustee
800 2nd Ave North, Suite 2
PO Box 196358
Nashville, TN 37219-6358

Your prompt payment is appreciated and will be used immediately to help offset the $300,000 Metro spent in order to conduct your English First special election. Thanks!

Politicians have big mouths? Thanks for the update! Maybe you could use your keen insight to admit you are already in denial about Dean's automatic re-election?

By: MAmom on 2/8/11 at 10:52

Undoubtedly the best staff his wife's money can buy.

By: Funditto on 2/9/11 at 7:20

It cracks me up how much Nashvillians hate people with money - then complain that there are no jobs and scream that private businesses are what makes the economy work. Talk out of both sides of your mouths much?

By: gdiafante on 2/9/11 at 7:31

That's an idea mayor I probably wouldn't have to pay for Preds tickets...

By: dogmrb on 2/9/11 at 8:02

@Karlwithak: her father died when she was a very young child so it was not her "daddies" money. Karl and Anne are quality people and care deeply about our city and all its citizens. If you don't agree with him, run for the office or work for another candidate.

By: karlwithak on 2/9/11 at 8:11

Quality people don't lie, cheat, and steal.

You've got some really screwed up priorities. You fit well with the dean admin.

By: numbertwo on 2/9/11 at 8:13

Craddock is the unannounced Tea Party candidate for Mayor. Crafton will run for At Large Council seat as part of a proposed Tea Party backed slate. Craddock running for Mayor is Hester's dream opponent. Haslem/Alexander local Republicans support Dean. Current Vegas odds give Craddock a smaller percentage of final vote than Mike McWherter received statewide(33). Old School vs New School will be settled, once again. Jobs vs Racetracks. Start the "Race" -officially.

By: karlwithak on 2/9/11 at 8:16

If you think Haslam supports dean you should pay close attention the news in the next few days. You deserve what you're about to find out. I look forward to it.

By: gdiafante on 2/9/11 at 8:26

Yeah, I was being serious, karl...moron.

By: Community-carl-... on 2/9/11 at 8:27

It makes me very sad that, apparently, even in Nashville, elections can be bought.

Having lived in Nashville as a middle class citizen for most of my life (58 years) , I have witnessed a lot changes, growth, and controversies. I have been dissatisfied with Karl Dean's decisions and leadership ever since he directed the Metro Legal Dept. As mayor of Nashville, he strikes me as a power-hungry ego-maniac who gives lip service to ordinary citizens while catering to the whims and needs of the rich, powerful, and well-connected. His unrelenting drive to disconnect Nashville from its musical and "country" roots is very distressing to me and most of my acquaintances. Time will prove that the new convention center is a terrible mistake that will ultimately result in a terrible tax burden on Nashville citizens. And the devious, underhanded methods he has (and continues) employed to steal the fairgrounds has demonstrated to me what his true character is. I think he is sleazy.

I pray another viable candidate will come forward to challenge him in his bid for a
2nd term. I feel that he and his cronies, especially Rich Riebeling, have done enough damage to our beloved city.......heaven only knows what else he will do to damage us and the character of our city if he is re-elected.

I would vote for almost anyone who would choose to oppose Dean.

By: Ingleweird on 2/9/11 at 8:28

Great observation.

I've also observed the anti--Dean naysayers commenting how Dean is helping out his buddies with contracts and jobs. However, by spending HIS OWN MONEY, Dean should be less beholden to these presumed beneficiaries, than if they were to fund the vast majority of his campaign. (On a related note, that Jim Fyke hiring/appointment with FinCom needs some closer scrutiny)

By: pswindle on 2/9/11 at 9:01

Do we have anyone that could beat Dean? Is so, who is it?

By: JohnGalt on 2/9/11 at 9:08

Why doesn't Dean fess up and admit all these recent previous state worker hires are really campaign workers?

By: FANOF711 on 2/9/11 at 12:10

im a person whom voted for dean the last time , and i wont make that mistake again
im disabled and have trouble walking , but whom ever runs against KARL DEAN
i will rent, barrow or what ever a wheel chaIR to get out and campaing against him
he has hurt nashville in alot of ways, and he has lied so much to the people of nashville.
and did you forget him saying if he didnt get his way with the fairgrounds / racetrack he would go up on ouir property taxes did you forget this about good ole mr, over infladed ego karl dean ?
look at downtown nashville you cant get in or out of town for all the roads tore up for his pet half a BILLION DOLLAR project that hurt alot of people and put some out of bussiness and work
hes wanting to turn nashville into another alanta, whats wrong with nashville as it is before he started messing with it and its people

By: BigPapa on 2/9/11 at 12:51

There's no viable opponent, so get used to more Dean. Then wave bye bye to the track and fairgrounds. Dean will win the election and he'll get his way on that issue... eventually.
Maybe Norm Partin can run soley on the race track issue. "You tried to close down a race track that nobody goes to! How dare you!!!"

By: karlwithak on 2/9/11 at 1:58

Big Papa, keep thinking that.

Viable candidates are in discussions now. I can promise you that a candidate truly could run on nothing but the fairgrounds issue and win by a landslide in this election. They get the support of over 40,000 voters before they spend the first campaign dollar.

Just sit back and watch.

By: Kosh III on 2/9/11 at 3:18

I voted for Dean solely because Clement was gungho on light rail and I am adamantly opposed to urban rail since buses are a much better option.
But I will vote for anyone else this time.
First budget Dean produced cut the MTA budget substantially causing a loss in routes. Not ONE bus runs to Old Hickory, Lakewood area now.
Now they are pushing for a rail line to service the West End Belle Meade crowd.

I don't care about the racetrack, but losing the fairgrounds with it's flea market and other events is a big deal. HCA can put it's offices somewhere else, I know a nice chunk of land at the end of Belle Meade Blvd which could be sold for a nice sum. Then Frist wouldn't have to drive so far.

By: nashtnman on 2/9/11 at 3:53

I am voting against Dean becasue:
1. He has spent millions of tax payer money on what HE thinks Nashville should do, studies, plans, .
2. He has bullied and payed off everyone to make sure he and his friends got their convention center.
3. He has consistantly lied about the CC hotel project and agreement
4. He has "given away" millions of would be tax dollars from and to the CC hotel group
5. He has lied on multiple occasions and channeled tax payer money to companies his friends own and operate.

By: nashville -nut on 2/9/11 at 3:55


By: nashville -nut on 2/9/11 at 4:06

The report states that Mayor Karl Dean will earn every vote!
During the 2007 election it was reported thatt he told Mr Partlin at Fairgrounds Speedway.I"m your man,and received a campaign donation.
Who is now the person behind closing the Fairgrounds,and Speedway?
It is told on the Nashville>.gov website how the fairgrounds is bleeding the city of funds!
It does not stae the exhorbinant fees being reportedly charged to the State Fair Board.
These fees according the the Preservationist Group ,exceed $800,000.00 per year.
Is there any person complaining about the reported millions,given to the Nashville Predators,by The City of Nashville?
It appeears Nashville Mayor has lost touch with the working people of Nashville.
It could be good year to elect a new Mayor,that is for all the People of Nashville!

By: Kosh III on 2/9/11 at 4:54

"It is told on the Nashville>.gov website how the fairgrounds is bleeding the city of funds!"

How much does Warner Parks bleed us each year? It doesn't have any revenue production like the Fairgrounds.

My solution is: Two Birds with one stone

May gives the property to Metro who makes it a greenway, reserve. park etc. It can connect to Bells Bend and Beaman parks.

Metro gives May Shelby and Shelby Bottoms Parks. They already has an infrastructure, private airfield next to it plus access to the freeways and it's almost----wait for it----downtown!

By: MAmom on 2/10/11 at 12:11

Other reasons why Dean is a sorry Mayor:

1. The "education" mayor whose own children attend PRIVATE school - guess Metro public schools aren't good enough for his kids.
2. Who appointed his Coal-heiress, millionaire wife to his "green" committee,
3. Who outsourced Metro's highly-paid school custodial jobs & now has a big contract with a third party who barely pays these as little as possible. Many have had to turn to food stamps and other benefits to get by.
4. Who has cut hundreds of Metro employee's jobs in the last few year - slashed millions of dollars from Metro services in the past three years - who expects Metro departments to cut 3% in the next year - but who has recently hired a bunch of ex-Bredesen and other political hacks - jobs that were not advertised - some with little or no definition.
5. Who hides behind others when things get "hot".
6. Who has been untruthful and sneaky throughout the Fairgrounds discussion. Remember "time out" - when his flunkies on the Council introduced the bill to demolish the racetrack? Appointing business people who are closely associated with him to be on the Fair Board. That Fair Board who has done their best to financially ruin the Fairgrounds (chasing away revenues, ramping up expenses, overpaying for capital expenditures, etc.).
7. Who tried to move Fairgrounds operations to Hickory Hollow mall for much more than the property is worth - to support CBL (that Fair Board Chairman Weaver was a lobbyist for).
8. Giving handouts to businesses (Asurion).
9. Ignoring the many thousands who signed the petition to save the Fairgrounds.
10. Has put Nashville in debt for his convention center for decades/generations.
11. Who took credit for all the good works done by the community after the flood.

Not modest.
Not honorable.
Not decent.
Not fair.

Not good for Nashville!

By: treehugger7 on 2/10/11 at 8:00

But still better than Bobby Clement would have been! Can you imagine listening to him for four years?!?

By: Community-carl-... on 2/10/11 at 8:18

MAmom, as usual, you have nailed the issues and brought valuable perspective to the discussion. And I agree with you on all points.

I would hasten to add one more thing Dean and his administration has killed.....namely, the Nashville citizens' beloved Metro Commmunity Education program. ( A popular life-long educational program enjoyed by tens of thousands of area citizens for over three decades before Dean's systematic hatchet job destroyed it. ..........Our so-called "Education Mayor" is a HYPOCRITE. And Rich Reibeling and Jesse Register helped orchestrate this sad chapter in Nashville Educational history. Now there is a big void in available learning opportunities for Nashville area adults to gain vocational, advocational, recreational/social, and life skills.

....But now there's more money for Dean's monument to himself, ie., the new Convention Center. ( Gag, It makes me want to vomit.)

Time will prove that Dean has not been, and never will be, good for Nashville.

I am praying that a decent and honorable person will come forward to challenge Dean. ( Are you listening, Howard Gentry , and other capable persons? )

By: FCMullins on 2/10/11 at 8:36

I have not been a resident of Davidson county since 1977, so maybe my opinion
doesn't count. I do however feel that the citizens of Nashville deserve better than
Karl Dean. It just appears to me that he is willing to teardown everything in Nashville
to promote his vision for his own legacy whether it's something that's right for Nashville or not.
I would really love to see someone of decent caliber run against him!

By: pswindle on 2/10/11 at 9:55

Come on, someone step up and beat Dean. It is not Craddock or Crafton.

By: yucchhii on 2/15/11 at 12:42

Saddam Hussein was the only one running in his campaign! So Karl DINK is the only one running in this one..ay? So he's the ONLY RAT in the race? Why is there NO ONE ELSE? I wonder, people in Cairo have GUTS enough to stand up to their NOW EX-prez and BOOT HIS ASS OUT RIGHT AWAY!! What happened to the USA? They did what they did there because of the "SAME REASONS" we have here! Ahhhh, The USA has NO guts anymore!!! That's why the politicians here get away with ALL they do!!!